Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Martin Luther King III is Interviewed about His Father; Preparation for NFL Medical Emergencies; New Numbers on Traffic. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 16, 2023 - 08:30   ET





JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I often think of the question that Dr. King asked us all those years ago. Where do we go from here? Well, my message to the nation on this day is, we go forward. We go together.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: That was current President Joe Biden speaking at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The historic church was where the civil rights leader served as pastor until his assassination in 1968. President Biden also making history as the first sitting president to deliver a Sunday sermon from Ebenezer's pulpit.

So, joining me now, the eldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a global human rights leader himself, is Martin Luther King III.

Thank you, sir. Good to see you this morning.


LEMON: I want to know, what does it mean to have a sitting president for the first time delivering this sermon from the historic pulpit where your father once stood.

KING: Well, of course, that was extraordinarily significant, that the president of the United States would be at Ebenezer Church delivering the message on Sunday. And it was certainly very appropriate in light of the fact that Dr. Warnock, as a United States senator, also, and pastor, is now helping to not just talk about issues, but to deliver for the state of Georgia and for people across the nation.


And so it certainly was appropriate that the president would be delivering that message to the nation to corral and bring us together. We need someone standing for unity because there are others who are standing for division.

LEMON: So, in 2023, how are we delivering on your dad's dream?

KING: We've still got a long way to go. That's what I think about every January. Dad wanted to focus on poverty, racism and violence and the eradication of those triple evils. And yet we've not achieved it. And this is a very extraordinary holiday this year because also January 16th happens to be the birthday of my wife. So, today is very special for us. I think she's being honored at Reverend Sharpton's breakfast, along with Speaker Pelosi and others.

And so today I think my dad and mom are looking down smiling, but yet saying, we still have a long way to go before we reach that dream of freedom, justice and equality for all human kind.

LEMON: Well, especially delivering on voting rights. You know it is stalled now. What is your take on that, especially considering that was - that was a huge piece of your dad's legacy that he wanted to carry on.

KING: No question. And it is very tragic that even in our own state of Georgia there are restrictions that have been put in place. Our goal, one of the goals that we have at Drum Major Institute, I'm the chair and Andrea is the president, is to create the climate where people have unfettered access to the polls. And there won't be restrictions put in place. We should be making it easier for them to vote, not harder. Our laws in some states have made it harder for people to vote and yet we're not - we've not passed the John Lewis bill or anything to make it easier.

And it's going to be quite difficult for any of that to happen with this Republican-led Congress. But we have to keep exerting pressure on them. Nothing happened in the modern (ph) civil rights movement until it happened. And so my point is, as we're exerting pressure, we will get there. It may not be this year, but we're going to get there on voting rights.

LEMON: I've got to ask you about something that was unveiled this weekend. There's a monument called The Embrace that symbolizes a hug that your father and mother shared after he won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize. It was unveiled in Boston just last week. There's been some controversy around it. What did you think when you saw it? What do you think of it?

KING: Well, first of all, to me I was certainly moved by the overwhelmingness, the large capacity of this sculpture. And one of the things our daughter said was, look, it represents love 360, you know, coming from a 14-year-old's perspective. I - people have -- it's subjective. Everyone has their opinions. But opinions are like butts, you know, everybody's got one.

But my issue is, I think that's a huge representation of bringing people together. It's called Embrace. And I think the artist did a great job. I'm satisfied. Yes, it didn't have my mom and dad's images, but it represents something that brings people together. And in this time of a - of day and age, when there's so much division,

we need symbols that talk about bringing us together. It's personal for me because had my mom and dad not met in Boston, maybe I wouldn't be here. So, I'm grateful, number one, that it talks about the love story. And so people will be debating about it for a long time, but for years.

And then the other thing -- final thing I'll say is, it also represents mom and dad. Many monuments are done just around dad, but it represents the kind of relationship they had, working together, and they were a partnership.

LEMON: I'm glad you cleaned up that analogy for morning television. Thank you, Martin. It's always a pleasure to see you. Good luck to you and your family. And we're thinking about you. We appreciate your appearing.

KING: Thank you so much, Don. Thanks for that opportunity and what you do.

LEMON: Yes, absolutely.

HARLOW: How wonderful to hear from him today.

All right, ahead, wait until you see this. An inside look at the NFL medical teams as they get ready for game day. Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta literally takes you on the field behind the scenes to show you the preparation that are credited with saving Damar Hamlin's life.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four man rush, retreating, puts it up for grabs, and it is deflected. (INAUDIBLE) almost had it. He couldn't bring it in. And the Bengals survive!


HARLOW: The Cincinnati Bengals defeating the Baltimore Ravens yesterday 24-17. Now the Bengals head to Buffalo to face the Bills in the divisional rounds of the playoffs. It is the first time they'll play each other since Damar Hamlin's on-field collapse after suffering a cardiac arrest.

LEMON: And CNN is getting an inside look at the NFL protocols that doctors say helped to save Hamlin's life. It all starts before each game when medical teams and NFL officials meet to go over emergency plans. And our very own Dr. Sanjay Gupta went behind the scenes in Jacksonville Saturday and got an up-close look at those preparations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) is wide open. To midfield and lowers -

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest, the game stopped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now another Bills player is down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It may be Hamlin.

GUPTA: But for the emergency response team, everything was just getting started.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead and go over to the cot. I don't like how he went down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to need everybody. All call. All call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring everybody! We need the air way doc everybody. Bring the cot with the medics. All of you. And get wheels out here.

GUPTA: As rare as this all is, I'm going to explain now the remarkable chain of events that came together to save Damar Hamlin's life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is actually the EAP for --


GUPTA: It starts with this.

GUPTA (on camera): So, what is the EAP? What does that stand for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It stands for Emergency Action Plan.

GUPTA: And that takes place for every game?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So basically any time or any place that players are going to be active, there has to be an emergency action plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have been administering CPR.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The EAP was followed to a letter that night. In that moment, everyone knew what they needed to do, how they needed to do it and had the equipment to do it and felt comfortable.

GUPTA (voice over): Dr. Allen Sills is chief medical officer of the NFL. He's giving me a sideline view of the preparedness that goes into every game day. And once you see this, you will probably never watch a game the same way again.

You may have missed this, pop-up blue tent. It's on every sideline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like a medical exam room. Now we've kind of made this a medical space. Even in the middle of a very busy stadium. It's just so much easier to do things in here because, like I said, everybody's just more relaxed. You don't have the cameras. You don't have the fans.

GUPTA: Or this, the injury review screen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we can be down here on the sideline and the spotter's booth, if they've seen an injury video, they'll cue it up for us, put on the video exactly what we need to see. We can ask them to run it back.

GUPTA (on camera): We can talk and we can talk (INAUDIBLE).

GUPTA (voice over): The spotter's booth, they are the eyes in the sky.

GUPTA (on camera): Hey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome, welcome.

GUPTA: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, this is another part of our game day medical preparations. Nd the real goal of this booth is to help spot any injuries or illnesses on the field. It can be hard to see the whole field from down here.

GUPTA: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably to me one of the most unique things in sports is the spotter can directly communicate down to the referee. These people can stop the game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, we watch every - every play probably minimally four times, and then we'll - we'll go back and watch it again.

GUPTA: Got it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And so, you know, we just want to make sure we don't miss anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always about the right people, the right plan and the right equipment. We have almost 30 medical professionals. And everyone has a job to do.

GUPTA (voice over): ER doctors, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, paramedics, x-ray techs and airway specialists, like Dr. Justin Deaton (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this is the bag that I carry. And it's got a number of things in here that we could use. The first thing is a portable video larynx (ph) scope. We have a portable ultrasound machine that we can use. And we also have the ability to perform surgical airways. I really have all the resources available here that I would have in an emergency room.

GUPTA (on camera): What's the biggest challenge of that scenario versus being in an emergency room?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the biggest challenge is the external environment and the chaos of the situation. When you have a larger- than-average size person that's laying flat on the ground and not able to be elevated to a certain level with extra equipment plus, you know, cameras and other people around, those are really the confounders and the things that make - make it more difficult to manage.

GUPTA: How does everyone know you're the guy in charge?

Um: I wear a red hat on the sideline. And that signifies me as the emergency physician, the airway physician, so that even the other team knows when I come out what my role is.

GUPTA (voice over): Every game comes with new lessons. For example, on September 25th, when Miami Dolphin Tua Tagovailoa stumbled after a hit, he was allowed back in the game. That won't happen again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we changed the protocol earlier this year when you and I spoke to say, if we see something that looks like ataxia on video, they're also done.

GUPTA: And as the teams all warm up, there is one final, crucial step.

GUPTA (voice over): Every time I'm in the operating room we do something known as a time-out. Everyone stops what they're doing and makes sure that everyone's on the same page. This is the same sort of thing that's happening here behind me. It's called a 60-minute meeting. It happens 60 minutes before every game. A chance for all the medical professionals to make sure that they know who each other are, and make sure that they know who's going to do what if there's some sort of crisis out on the field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, so let's start with introductions so that everybody's familiar with the medical staff that's here at the game. I'm Kevin Kaplan, head team physician orthopedics with the Jaguars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justin Deaton, airway management physician.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, the most important thing, Justin is going to be on our 30 yard line. He stands just to our right. If a player goes down, obviously he won't know if it's orthopedic or internal medicine. He'll step out onto the field. Our all call sign is an x. So if you need him to come out, he will come out with an x.

All of the important equipment, airway, defibrillator, all the medications are all behind him with our paramedics on our sideline. If a player needs to get taken off of the field, the ambulance is going to be in the tunnel to your right. If you need anything at all, we'll be out there for you guys if you need us. Otherwise, hopefully we have a safe and healthy game. Good luck.

GUPTA (on camera): Now, keep in mind, the medical team was able to get to Damar Hamlin within ten seconds. And speed really matters here. Every additional minute that someone in cardiac arrest goes without CPR, mortality goes up by up to 10 percent.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a process that's in place for every single game. And we train in the off-season. And just like the players train and practice, we do as well. So, I have tremendous confidence. But you always want to see a game with no injuries and you want everyone to, frankly, be bored on the medical standpoint. That's a good game from my standpoint.

GUPTA: I hear you.


LEMON: There's Sanjay.

HARLOW: What a piece. I mean we have never been behind the scenes like that.


HARLOW: And on top of it, Sanjay, these players continue to get bigger, faster, stronger, meaning the hits can get harder. Is that something these medical teams are thinking about too?

GUPTA: I think so. And, I mean, if you look at the - the sort of history of the NFL, it's sort of fascinating. I mean when the NFL started about 100 years ago, average size of a lineman was about 190 pounds say (ph). Now the average size is about 300 pounds.


GUPTA: And you add to that the speed, as you mentioned. Yes, they've gotten a lot bigger and a lot faster. Forty-yard dash around 5 seconds. So, think about that. Someone 300 pounds plus, 40 yard dash, five seconds. If you get hit by somebody like that, it's about 1,700 pounds of force. Whereas one of the doctors said to us, it literally feels like a ton of bricks that are falling on you.

So, you have to sort of keep up with the types of injuries. We talk a lot about concussions obviously over the last 15, 20 years. But these types of injuries that we saw with Damar Hamlin, soft tissue injuries, orthopedic injuries, they are all, obviously, of huge concern as well. And that's why you see this evolution of the - the medical capabilities.

It's pretty remarkable. You know, I work in a hospital. That was like basically doing drills for codes in the hospital. They do that before every game to try and, you know, address anything that might possibly arise. It was fascinating.

LEMON: I'm not surprised that they -- the protocol, watching it, it was a very good piece.


LEMON: But I was surprised how many time they watch the plays. I think she said they watch them four times to make sure that there is -- that was fascinating.

HARLOW: Four. Yes. Yes.

LEMON: Sanjay, we've got to run, though. Thank you. Nice job. Love it. Love it. Thank you very much.

GUPTA: You got it.

LEMON: Very informative.

GUPTA: You got it. Have a good day.

LEMON: Well, this morning's number is $4.8 billion. Harry Enten here to explain.



HARLOW: A live look at LAX, known for traffic. That is Los Angeles. And traffic across the country is getting worse as Americans get back to their normal lives after the pandemic. More cars are clogging up the roads, especially in big cities.

So, our senior data reporter Harry Enten has this morning's number.

Good morning. What is it?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Good morning. OK, this morning's number is 4.8 billion hours. That's the time spent in traffic congestion by all Americans in 2022. Or 51 hours per average driver. Now, where do you get the most traffic? So, let's take a look at the urban areas, 2022, worst traffic, the average driver per year. I would have thought it as New York City.

LEMON: I would have thought it's Atlanta.



ENTEN: It is Chicago at 155 hours.


ENTEN: Boston was second at 134. New York at 117. Philly and then Miami, all above 100 hours. Minneapolis, I looked it up, way less than that. So perhaps that's a plug for you.

Now, in terms of the trend line that you were looking at. So, this, I think, gets at the point that you were pointing out, that it's gotten better - or it's gotten worse, I should say, since the beginning of the pandemic. So, this is the traffic in the top ten urban areas. We're now at 101 hours per the average driver in the top ten urban areas. That is way up from where we were in 2020 when it was 53. Nearly back to 111, where we were in 2019.

Now, here to me is the most interesting trend, which is compare that to the mass transit delay - or the people -- number of people that are using mass transit. The traffic congestion is now 88 percent of where we were in Boston, Chicago, D.C., and New York City. But the rapid transit usership is just at 50 percent. So, people are getting back in their cars, but they're not getting back on the trains.

LEMON: Because they're afraid to be around people, do you think?

ENTEN: Maybe. Or maybe they've just gotten used to it.

LEMON: I'm surprised. L.A., right, (INAUDIBLE).

HARLOW: You're surprised L.A. has bad traffic.

LEMON: No, surprised L.A. is not in the top -

HARLOW: Oh - oh, you're right.

LEMON: Yes. Yes.

HARLOW: What's up with that?

ENTEN: I don't know.

HARLOW: OK, we've got to go still they tell us. We'll see you tomorrow.

LEMON: Yes, we've got to get we're going to beat the traffic and get out of here.

HARLOW: See you tomorrow.

CNN "NEWSROOM" is next.