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NFL Coach Resigns After Homophobic, Racist, Misogynistic E- mails Unearthed; Coroner: Gabby Petito's Cause Of Death Was Strangulation; Task Force Proposes Adults 60-Plus Shouldn't Start Taking Daily Aspirin To Prevent Heart Disease Or Stroke. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired October 12, 2021 - 14:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Jon Gruden is out as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after "The New York Times" unearthed old e-mails that he sent packed with misogynistic and homophobic and racist language.

These e-mails were sent between 2011 and 2018 and they emerge as part of a different investigation into workplace misconduct that did not initially involve Gruden.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Now, in the e-mails, Gruden used racist language to describe the NFL players union leader, denounced women working as on-field officials.

And wrote that a player who kneeled for the national anthem, that protesters should be fired. He also criticized a team's drafting of an openly gay player.

And he used an anti-gay slur when describing the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.

"New York Times" reporter, Katie Rosman, broke this story. Also with us is retired NFL player, Ephraim Salaam.

Thank you both for being with us.

Katherine, what stands out to me is that, Friday, we got the e-mail that suggests or shows that he made this racist comment. He coached a game on Sunday after that.

And only after your reporting about the misogynistic -- all right. Got to hold on. Hold this.

We've got to go to Wyoming for the latest on the Gabby Petito case. We're going to learn about that autopsy.

Let's listen in.

DR. BRENT BLUE, TETON COUNTY CORONER: No other information will be released about the autopsy. The only thing that is released in the state of Wyoming is cause or manner of death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they said we can't hear you. Just one second.

Go ahead.

BLUE: Should I start over then?


BLUE: Thank you for joining us. Sorry about the audio issue.

I'm Dr. Brent Blue, Teton County, Wyoming, coroner.

After a detailed investigation by our forensic pathologist, our anthropologist and local law enforcement, with assistance from the FBI, the Teton County Coroner's Office, if filing the forthcoming verdict.

In the manner of death of Gabrielle Venora Petito, we find the cause and manner, death by strangulation and manner is homicide.

By Wyoming state statute, only the cause and manner of death are released. There are autopsy findings and photographs and that sort of material is not released by state statute.

And I'll be glad to entertain some questions at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Hi, Brent. This is Alex (INAUDIBLE), with the "News and (INAUDIBLE)."

BLUE: Yes.


BLUE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: I'm curious whether you're able to pinpoint a date of death. And when -- and if you know whether or when Gabby's remains will be returned to her family.

BLUE: The remains have been returned to the mortuary here. And the mortuary is dealing with the family at this time as far as disposition of the remains.

As far as the time of death, we are estimating three to four weeks from the time that the body was found. That is actually -- law enforcement -- than the -- than our office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vivian, you are able to ask your question.


BLUE: What's the question? I didn't hear a question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kris, I believe that you are muted. If you can unmute yourself.


JOHN WALSH, HOST, "IN PURSUIT WITH JOHN WALSH": Yes. OK. It's John Walsh, from "In Pursuit with John Walsh" on "Discovery I.D."

Dr. Blue, thank you for your time.

I think everybody in the world believes that Brian Laundrie killed Gabby. With your extensive work on the body, are you sure that it's Brian Laundrie?

And will the FBI issue a nationwide homicide warrant now that they know the cause of death?

BLUE: We are only tasked with the determination of cause and manner of death. Who committed the homicide is up to law enforcement. And I cannot answer the question about the FBI. You will have to contact them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jeremy Corbett (ph), you are now allowed to ask your question.


If you could please -- if can you comment on any other bruising, maybe, on the body that possibly was healing, possibly older bruises or cuts that might have been healing over the last couple of weeks before her passing?

BLUE: Wyoming state statute, no other information about the autopsy is released. Just the cause of death.

HEATHER LEIGH, REPORTER, ABC ACTION NEWS: Hi, there. This is Heather Leigh, reporter at ABC Action News in Tampa, Florida.

I just wanted to know if you could explain why it took about a month for this process to finish. I think a lot of people were hoping that they would learn this information sooner.

So I just think if you could just explain the process and why it took a month.

BLUE: Well, the main reason was that we were very exacting in our examination and the detail with which that examination was done.

We were waiting for various specialists to come in and help us with this investigation. We were waiting on toxicology to be returned, And it was just a matter of making sure we had everything right.

CAMEROTA: OK. You have been listening there to the Teton County, Wyoming, coroner, who has just publicly released the findings of the Gabby Petito autopsy.

He can't say much because of Wyoming state law, but he said that they have figured out that the manner in which she died was homicide and it was death by strangulation.

With us now, we want to bring in CNN correspondent, Jean Casarez, and Casey Jordan, a criminologist, behavioral analyst and attorney.

Jean, I mean, I think that everyone assumed that, of course, Gabby Petito had been killed. It wasn't sort of natural causes by which she died. But to hear that it was strangulation is still startling and confirms everybody's worst fears.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I know. I know. So, it is official now that it is a homicide. That was a preliminary ruling, right, initially, and the cause of death, strangulation.

Something else that stands out to me is that they brought in the forensic pathologist. Of course, that is who performs autopsies. But the forensic anthropologist.

That is very striking right there, because they said that her remains, her body was there three to four weeks.

Well, we know from the search warrant affidavit, that August 27th was the last time her family had any communication with her. We know her remains were found September 19th. So that is the timetable there.

We know she was in the Grand Tetons, which is the wild, And a forensic anthropologist shows that there was necessary for an expert to come in. It was not remains that you normally would find when someone is deceased.

BLACKWELL: Casey, the strangulation element here is a very intimate way -- and I'm going delicate because we are dealing with a person who has a family -- of killing someone.

This is not a gunshot. It is not using a weapon. That is person-to- person. What do you take away from a crime of potentially passion in strangulation?

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST & BEHAVIORAL ANALYST: The confirmation that Gabby died of strangulation does not really surprise me at all. It was what I had predicted all along.

Because it is the most common form, along with sometimes an impassioned bludgeoning, in cases where there has been a history of domestic violence.

It is personal. It is intimate. You have to look into the eyes of the person as you have their hand around their throat. Or we don't know if it's manual strangulation versus a ligature strangulation.

But it takes a long time. Usually, up to five minutes. And again, don't want to be indelicate, but it didn't happen quickly.


It wasn't one of these things where you just strike out with a rock, with a hammer, some weapon of convenience. It took time. It took intent.

And I wouldn't be surprised, since homicide doesn't necessarily mean murder. There can be different degrees of murder. Of course, Jean can shed more light on this. It can be justifiable. It can be excusable.

But now that we know it's strangulation, which I assumed they determined based on the breakage of the hyoid bone in the neck, now we really have more insight into what exactly happened to Gabby that led to her death.

CAMEROTA: Casey, one more question.

They also mentioned that DNA samples were taken from her body. Does that -- I mean, it's hard to know what that means, because Brian Laundrie was her boyfriend, so what could DNA samples -- how could that aid in the criminal investigation?

JORDAN: Well, Brian Laundrie was her boyfriend, but maybe there was some trace evidence left on her body, hairs, saliva, something that would really equate to him being with her at the time of her death.

They could have found articles of clothing that had DNA on them that didn't belong to Gabby around her body that belonged to Brian Laundrie.

What they're trying to do is link him to her time of death, her place of death.

And we don't know whether she died where she was found or maybe died in the van and was carried there, dragged there.

But all of this is connecting the dots. And DNA is the thing that your investigators are really going to use to build an airtight case against the person who killed her, be that Brian Laundrie or not.

BLACKWELL: Yes, go ahead, Jean.

CASAREZ: It's so important, the DNA, the question. Because to further this investigation, you know prosecutors are looking at this. Prosecutors are very interested in DNA because DNA of -- foreign DNA on her, meaning not her own DNA, can be critically important.

And there are things called defensive strikes, defensive wounds, and they look under the nails to see if there's any foreign DNA.

Now, she was with Brian Laundrie. And he obviously has not been charged with anything in regard to her death. But she was with him night and day, so it will make it difficult.

But there's also aspects of touch DNA that they've used in various cases that is very, very specific. But if there's anything -- if there was -- we don't know the condition of her neck, right?

But if there was anything that could show a perpetrator had her and was committing an act against her, that DNA could be used.

BLACKWELL: All right.


JORDAN: And if I can jump in.

BLACKWELL: Go ahead, quickly. Go ahead.

JORDAN: If she was using any kind of defensive actions, as Jean said, skin under the nails, trying to fight off her attacker, then that is more damning source of DNA than just a hair or fiber that may have been found on something she was wearing.

So, we don't know exactly -- and it will come out eventually, I'm sure -- but we don't need to know everything -- where they may have extracted an attacker's DNA from her and what that might mean.

BLACKWELL: All right.

Just to update for those just joining us, the cause of death now in the case of Gabby Petito is strangulation. Manner of death, we knew a couple of weeks ago, homicide.

That is, from what we learned from the coroner there in Teton County, all that they can release. But of course, that autopsy is complete and they know far more than they are legally allowed to tell.

Jean, Casey, thank you both.



BLACKWELL: All right, we'll take a quick break. But we'll have more on the other side about the NFL head coach, Jon Gruden, who just resigned after these homophobic, racist and misogynist e-mails were uncovered.



CAMEROTA: OK, back to the resignation of Las Vegas Raiders head coach, Jon Gruden. He stepped down after "The New York Times" unearthed old e-mails he sent packed with racist, misogynistic, and homophobic language.

Katie Rosman is back with us. She's a "New York Times" reporter who broke the story. Along with retired NFL player, Ephraim Salaam.

Great to have both of you. Thank you for your patience. Sorry for the interruption.

This guy's a real treat, Katie. These e-mails show vile things that he felt at liberty to write in, basically, work e-mails about black people, gay people, women.

He doesn't like President Obama. He doesn't like President Biden. He says nasty things about Roger Goodell. It goes on.

So obviously, he has resigned. But does this say something larger about ESPN or the NFL and that he felt at liberty to write these things during those years?

KATHERINE ROSMAN, REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, thanks for having me on.

I was taken by the comfort with which you can feel these e-mails are being written.

And when you read them, it feels very, very comfortable, nothing felt like a special moment where somebody was really letting loose. It just felt like this was the way these men were bantering with each other.

And I can't speak to ESPN or the NFL, specifically, more broadly, but it certainly points to a culture where this sort of language and commentary, you know, took place somewhat common place, at least among these gentlemen, if not more.


BLACKWELL: Yes, Ephraim, Katie talks about the casualness, in which these -- over seven years, these e-mails were exchanged. Does this surprise you at all?

EPHRAIM SALAAM, RETIRED NFL PLAYER: In this day and age, nothing really surprises me. People are going to be who they are.

And you know, you hear this over and over and over again about what is done in the dark comes to light eventually.

So if you're having these types of conversations with your friends, your closest, you know, friends, and then people that you trust, and these are the ways that you're feeling.

Not only about, you know, African-Americans, but about gay people, trans people, any of these things, about women, you just can't go on a rant or tell jokes or be off color and think it's going to be OK.

Especially when you're doing it over e-mail and you just have this sentiment of being, like -- let's be honest - a terrible person, right?

You can call it whatever you want. But obviously, he's just a terrible person.

Now, you got players and you got coaches and people coming to his defense like he doesn't have a racist bone in his body. But I push back on that because his bones may not be racist, but his thoughts and his comments are.

CAMEROTA: Such a great point. I mean, you can't say that you don't have a racist bone in your body if you write these vile e-mails.

I mean, this is from a different century. The imagery he's using and the words he's using, it's Archie Bunker, was the last time things like this were even mildly said in public at least.

Katie, is there a sense that this manifested itself in his management style or in his life or work?

ROSMAN: Well, I don't know necessarily.

But, listen, if you're the guy who is having a say in who gets on a team or who gets coverage by a network, and you're saying that queers shouldn't, you know, be drafted or if you're saying that women shouldn't be allowed to be on field referees.

I mean, I'm trying to choose my words carefully because many of the things that he said are things I don't think you want me to say on the air.

But it's not just about saying those things. It's about being the decision makers, and holding the keys, holding the opportunity for others in your hands and having these values and opinions that, like I said seemed very, very casually espoused to me.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about, one of the decision makers asked today about Gruden and the comments. This is Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys.

Ephraim, you mentioned there are people coming to his defense. Here's one of them.


JERRY JONES, OWNER, DALLAS COWBOYS (voice-over): I know these people. I know everybody that you've been reading about. They're outstanding proponents of our game. They have represented this game, in many cases, beautifully.

And certainly, we all continue to recognize what a spotlight you're in, and the way that we should express ourselves.


BLACKWELL: That's his response to what he read in "The New York Times" about these e-mails. So my question, your reaction to that?

But also, is this the end of his career in the NFL? Is it the end of his analyst career potentially or will we see Jon Gruden again soon?

SALAAM: I'll say this. In that statement, we just heard from Jerry Jones, he didn't say anything about the disparaging comments.

What he talked about is how good they were for the game, how much they meant for the product of the NFL, which would -- to me, lands on deaf ears, right, like you never -- you addressing a situation or a scandal without actually addressing it, right?

He didn't say, hey, look, those were disparaging things, he shouldn't have said it, but he's meant this, this and this to the game. What he came out and said was, hey, look, I know these people, they

mean so much to the game. They held the game to the highest regard. Too bad they didn't hold other people, other genders in higher regards.

And that's the problem you see, right?

Sometimes we put -- over human decency, we put a career or anything like that over just being a common, kind and decent person, which, in some places, doesn't have, you know, a place in business, you know. And that's a shame.


And to his -- will he ever coach again or be an analyst again? Probably somewhere down the line. You know, as you know, time is the best healer of everything. So it wouldn't surprise me.

CAMEROTA: Katie Rosman, Ephraim Salaam, thank you both.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right, the long-standing practice of people over 60 years old taking a daily low-dose aspirin is now in question. So we have details on the new draft guidance, next.

BLACKWELL: And lots going on today. Here's what to watch.


BLACKWELL: New proposed health guidance just out could have a sweeping effect on millions of older Americans.

A major national task force is proposing recommending against taking a daily aspirin to cut the risk of heart disease and stroke if you're over 60 years old.

It's part of new recommendations that ultimately sets the norms for what treatments and tests are implemented by doctors across the country. And what's typically covered by insurance.

CAMEROTA: CNN's senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, joins us now.

So, Elizabeth, what does this mean for everybody who takes a daily dose of baby aspirin?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Unfortunately, I think, Alisyn, over the years, that some people, maybe even some doctors, got the message, oh, a daily dose of baby aspirin, everybody should be doing it.

Well, what the U.S. Preventative Task Force is saying is that's not quite true. They have written a draft of recommendations. It's not written in stone yet. But what they're saying is, look, there's a benefit to aspirin for

many people. People who have had a heart attack or stroke, they could really benefit from having an aspirin.


However, if you're older, something bad could happen if you take an aspirin a day, and that is you could bleed too much. Too much aspirin can make you bleed too much. And that gets more likely as we age.