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House Votes To Remove Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) From Foreign Affairs Committee; Biden And Leaders Of Congressional Black Caucus Discuss Police Reform In Wake Of Tyre Nichols' Death; Ohio's Education Department Investigating Alleged White Supremacist, Pro-Nazi Homeschooling Network; First Super Bowl With Two Black Quarterbacks; Lebron James Well On His Way To Making NBA History; Iranian Couple Filmed Dancing In Tehran Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired February 02, 2023 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good evening, everyone. I'm Laura Coates, and this is CNN TONIGHT.
Now, every day seems to be, well Groundhog Day in Congress, and funny that is, in fact, Groundhog Day to top it off. Republicans who howled at Republicans or Democrats kicked Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar off committees now turning around and kicking off Ilhan Omar off of the House Foreign Affairs Committee after giving Greene and Gosar, well, brand new committee assignments, but Congressman George Santos who lied his way into Congress, well, apparently, no penalties as of yet. Today, he called on Congress to fight bigotry and anti-Semitism as well, which, of course, laudable but pretty rich coming from a guy who repeatedly claimed to be Jewish then said, he meant, well, Jew- ish.
Plus, as we're waiting for the release of up to 20 more hours of footage related to the police beating that led to the death of Tyre Nichols, the conversation across the country is now about how policing has to change. But the question really is will that change come from Washington or will it be in a classroom that we keep talking about it instead or from a local level or from police chiefs and officers themselves?
And there's an investigation in Ohio of an online home schooling network where parents allegedly shared messages of white supremacy and Hitler quotes as educational resources for the students. Why the state may not be able to do a thing about it.
Lots going on tonight. I want to begin with the party line vote today to oust Congresswoman Ilhan Omar from House Foreign Affairs Committees. The Congresswoman defiant on the House floor before that very vote, saying this would not diminish her leadership.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): My leadership and voice will not be diminished if I am not on this committee for one term. My voice will get louder and stronger and my leadership will be celebrated around the world as it has been. So, take your votes or not, I am here to stay and I am here to be a voice against harms around the world and advocate for a better world. I yield back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: I want to bring in CNN Senior Political Analyst Kirsten Powers, former National Republican Senatorial Committee Aide Liam Donovan, and former Obama White House Senior Director Nayyera Haq. Glad to see you all here.
Listen, we talk about Groundhog Day, right, and we talk about the way in which we've seen a lot of this before and the premise of that movie, of course, I'm obviously a Bill Murray and Andie McDowell fan. Is the idea of trying to get it right time and time again and having the same set of circumstances come up? In fact, let's pay a little to homage for a second as to how often we refer to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Weatherman Phil Connors is spending the day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Phil? Ned, Ned Ryerson, I did the whistling belly button trick at the school talent show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But Phil is about to find out he's not just stuck in Punxsutawney --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you be checking out today, Mr. Connors?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chance of departure today, 100 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's stuck --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's Groundhog Day.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- in Groundhog Day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: I bring it up because how often do you hear people say, it's Groundhog Day, it's Groundhog Day? I happen love that movie. But I bring this up particularly, Kirsten, because, look, we have been here before where there has been an opportunity for members of Congress to identify a problem, change it and demonstrate some maybe moral compass or demonstrate a connective tissue that says, here's who ought to leave and be consistent in many ways, and then the very next chance they have to get it right again, it's a whole other ball game. And we're still not quite at the point where it has actually been accomplished in a way that is not hypocritical. What do you say about today?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, it is hypocritical what the Republicans to complain about something and then turn around and do the exact same thing. I think that's the most minor problem here, though. I think the much bigger problem is this obsession with persecuting Ilhan Omar. We have three Muslim members of Congress. Two of them are women that the GOP is obsessed with persecuting, right? So, that's the biggest problem we have right here, that this is not about anything else other than mainly anti-Muslim sentiment.
And I think that it's important to have her voice in any foreign policy discussion because so much of our foreign policy actually does involve people who look like her and who have her experience and have her beliefs.
And so to take her off of there and say, oh, it's no big deal because it's just foreign policy, it's like, no, that's exactly where she should be.
And she apologized. You have Jewish members of Congress who have stood up and said, she absolutely -- she has done the work of repentance repair and she has learned and she is doing better on this issue, and there's no problem here. So, the Republicans don't have really a leg to stand on here.
COATES: I want to play -- I want to hear particularly Nayyera, but I want to play what Speaker McCarthy had to say because he, of course, says that's not what this -- it's because it's foreign affairs in particular that she cannot be on the committee. Listen to what he had to say, and I want to hear your response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): We're not removing her from other committees. We just do not believe when it comes to foreign affairs, especially the responsibility of that position around the world with the comments that you make. She shouldn't serve there.
So, if there is a concern, it's not tit-for-tat. But I think in moving forward, every member of Congress has a responsibility to how they carry themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Do you by his explanation?
NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: No. If it was a matter of combining anti-Semitism, then Congresswomen Jewish space laser and Congressman Jew-ish would also not be engaged in these votes and in these conversations that come to the House floor about foreign policy. It's not only the committee Congress authorizes writ large defense spending, aid, military aid overseas.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is also visibly Muslim. She had to get a special (INAUDIBLE) for wearing religious head gear because she wears a hijab on her head. That was new for Congress. Only about 15 or 16 years ago did we even see the first member of Congress -- when I was an intern, when I was staffer there, there was nobody in leadership in Congress. There are barely any other Muslim-American staffers. So, it is a big deal to have had three so far, and her representation goes beyond that. She's a refugee. She is from Africa. She represents the Somali-American community and all that they have had to deal with in relation to counterterrorism efforts. So, her experience and her representation have been essential to the Democratic narrative.
COATES: There's also the idea, Liam, about -- there is the violence rhetorically around her, but there's also the idea of violence, how it's come into Congress. And there has not been an equal measure of punishment based on violent statements, on incendiary remarks. In fact, we all hard Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez today speaking about an incident involving Congressman Paul Gosar where her life she feels was really threatened and no consequence. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I had a member of the Republican caucus threaten my life, and you all and the Republican caucus rewarded him with one of the most prestigious committee assignments in this Congress. Don't tell me this is about consistency. Don't tell me that this is about a condemnation of anti-Semitic remarks when you have a member of the Republican caucus who has talked about Jewish space lasers and an entire amount of tropes and also elevated her to some of the highest committee assignments in this body. This is about targeting women of color in the United States of America. Don't tell me because I didn't get a single apology when my life was threatened. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Liam, what's your reaction.
LIAM DONOVAN, FORMER NATIONAL REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL COMMITTEE AIDE: So, I think with Congressman Gosar, that was what this previous fight was about back in 2021. The punishment was that he was removed from committees. That set the precedent that McCarthy held about at the time, saying that this is a double standard. This is all about -- I mean, he says it's not tit-for-tat. This is about a procedural pretext being able to point to the fact that Pelosi did this so we're going to do it back.
Going back to what Kirsten said about the longstanding hang-ups over Ilhan Omar, her statements, remember, when she was named to the foreign affairs committee in the first place. So, they've -- you know, whether that's principle or good faith or bad faith, they've wanted her out for a long time. This opened the door for their ability to do that by pointing to the fact that it happened to Taylor Greene and it happened Gosar -- POWERS: But it's also -- the thing is the Democrats removed them because the Republicans wouldn't remove them. So, it's just a sick game that they play.
HAQ: The Democrats did censure their own, right? Ilhan Omar and Minority Leader Jeffries spoke about how she had been counseled. They had been condemned by her own party. We're not hearing Republican transgressors of common decency or those who support the insurrection being admonished by current Republican leadership.
POWERS: I mean, Marjorie Taylor Greene had to go visit the Holocaust museum because she wasn't sure that the Holocaust even existed, right?
So, please spare us this stuff about how you're so concerned with anti-Semitism. How about Donald Trump who had dinner with openly anti- Semitic people, Nick Fuentes? It's like -- and Kanye West? This is not on the up and up, okay? This is 100 percent they have been out for her from the minute she has set foot in Congress, they have been crazed. You had Marjorie Taylor Greene, when she was running for office, posing with a gun and talking with pictures of the squad, you know, with Ilhan Omar and AOC and Rashida Tlaib, two of those people happen to be Muslim women. Interesting. Wonder what that's about?
DONOVAN: Well, one thing I do want to point out because we haven't talked about it, Kevin McCarthy has the ability as speaker to unilaterally take people off certain committees, including the intelligence committee. So, we're now talking about Schiff and Swalwell --
POWERS: Not foreign affairs, right.
DONOVAN: Not foreign affairs, it's standing committee. But we're talking about Omar because she's the only person on a standing committee they are removing, he already did this to Schiff and Swalwell, again, with sort of a discrete reason to do that. He promised to do that, or at least alluded to an intention to do that back on the floor debate in 2021. In a lot of ways, this is just kind of this coming home (INAUDIBLE).
POWERS: Yes. But we have to remember this is all catering to the far- right and the Republican Party. There are many Republicans who are uncomfortable with this. And so this is something that the far-right who he had to basically make all these concessions to to become the leader, he's trying to keep them happy.
COATES: And speaking of Jeffries, I want to point out, I want you to hear this, he actually points out what this might mean in the long run in the terms of relationship between Republicans and Democrats with this very narrow majority. Listen to what he had to say about, well, the complexity of that relationship now going forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Speaker McCarthy knows I strongly disagree with him and them on this issue, and this type of poisonous, toxic double standard is going to complicate the relationship moving forward between House Democrats and House Republicans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: For voting and yet likely accurate.
HAQ: And they need -- Republicans are going to need a few Democrats to be able to get any of their debt limit budget compromises done. So, it is not the majority that will get Kevin McCarthy his work or to pass his agenda. And he is constantly on the back foot with these fights that cater to the MAGA bases of his party as opposed to advancing any type of positive thought for Republicans even though he's in charge.
COATES: Well, see how voters look at all this. Everyone, thank you, stick around.
When we come back, Memphis says there are 20 hours of additional footage related to the brutal police beating of Tyre Nichols, and it's still to come. Frankly a terribly reminder of just how much policing in this country needs to be reformed. But where will that change and all the reform actually come from and in what form and when?
COATES: President Joe Biden meeting today with leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus just one day after the funeral of Tyre Nichols, who was beaten beyond recognition by police in Memphis. The president joining the calls for policing reform.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: My hope is this dark memory spurs some action that we've all been fighting for. And although you just got to keep at it, I listened to Al Sharpton's eulogy, which I thought was first rate, and we got to stay at it as long as it takes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Here with me in the studio, CNN Legal Analyst Elliot Williams and Joshua Skule, former FBI assistant director for intelligence. Also joining us, Sue Rahr, former sheriff of King County, Washington.
We begin with you, Sue, out there because I think it's important to really orient the conversation especially based on your experience. You were in law enforcement, and you wrote a piece that was very compelling and thought-provoking in The Atlantic. And you say after watching the Tyre Nichols video, you know why this keeps happening. You say it's police culture. Tell me what you think needs to be changed.
SUE RAHR, FORMER SHERIFF, KING COUNTY, WASHINGTON: Well, we have to let go of the methodology that police are fighting a noble battle between good and evil. Police are used as a cleanup crew. They're used as a substitute for unfunded social services that keep neighborhoods healthy and vigorous. And at some point, I'm hoping I can get my peer law enforcement leaders to stand up and say, we're not going to do this anymore.
There has to be policing. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we don't need police. But we can't use them as a substitute. We have to have adequately funded social services. And there's a whole other array of other issues that lead communities to be in the situations that they're in but we first have to start by bringing in services to help people.
COATES: Joshua, you, in your experience as well, former FBI executive assistant director, and thinking about this, I mean, there ought to be obviously a symbiotic relationship between the community and police officers, but they are often complaining and justifiably in many reasons about being the catch-all that she speaks of, 911 in and of itself being the catch-all, having to be the jack of all trades, responding to things like mental health calls without having the proper training, and it runs the gamut.
I'm not excusing excessive force or poor behavior that goes against training, but tell me what you take of the of this catch-all, the idea of police officers being asked to be doing too much which leads to this culture. JOSHU SKULE, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR INTELLIGENCE: I think
law enforcement -- first of all, they need the community to do their job. They have to rely on the community to do their job. So, that relationship that you talk about is essential to law enforcement and policing. They are asked to do too much today.
And when you look at the transgressions of law enforcement, of course, the horrific acts in Memphis, I think you have to go back to the root causes. We have to look at what is the training, what are the hiring practices, are we bringing the right people, are we bringing the right culture? Those are the core root of the problem to get on the front end of why happened, not to clean it up after the fact.
COATES: It's an important point. Because along with community, obviously, is going to be trust, and trust is obliterated, if not, fatally diminished when you've got instances after instance after instance of what happens when someone has a great deal of responsibility and believes they're omnipotent as a result and untouchable as a result.
We are learning that there are about 20 hours of additional footage involved in the Memphis police beating of Tyre Nichols. I bring that up, potentially what you said, because we're going to be looking at this and looking retrospectively at what happened as opposed to in real-time or forward-thinking. What does it say to you that you have got all these footage and still the problems persist?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, look, it's a culture point. I want to pick up on what Sheriff Rahr just a minute ago about the philosophy behind policing, right? And no good or wrong to this, but baked into American culture is the idea that police are warriors, not guardians of community. Think about just basic things, like, for instance, the term troops, troops or troopers referring to police. It doesn't have to be that way, but the notion of policing as an offshoot of the military is just sort of who we are as Americans. And that could change as a sort of rethinking and reshaping of how we approach policing.
She also made a great point about social services, and Seattle has actually done a great deal of this. Think about the individual who is urinating behind the library or even the kid in school who might even be violent. Most of those circumstances call for a social worker, not an armed police officer to show up. And the likelihood of a serious altercation perhaps ending in a fatality is greatly increased when somebody shows up with a firearm.
Imagine if we just rethought the whole idea of policing not as social services because there are times when we need armed police officers, and you want armed police officers. But most encounters really require social services showing up on the scene, not someone who might necessarily increase the risk of violence happening.
COATES: Sheriff Rahr, I'm going to bring you back into this conversation on that point about the idea of the different roles and what is needed, but it also strikes me when you talk about the culture of police. The term that people use obviously refers to a very big umbrella, and yet we've got a patchwork of individual police departments without one singular universal standard. You don't even have the idea of a national registry, et cetera, of different officers or problematic officers. So, when we talk about the culture of policing, is it possible to change the culture of policing when you've got hundreds, if not, thousands and thousands of individuals cultural police departments?
RAHR: I think it is possible but it's going to be very difficult. And because we have 18,000 different opinions both for the local city council and the police chiefs, there has to be incentive, I believe. Because the federal government doesn't control local criminal justice, the federal government can certainly offer incentives to change the training model to provide technical assistance on how do you change your academy so from day one you don't start out creating storm troopers. You start out creating guardians who believe that they have a role in the community to protect and serve, not to suppress and conquer. That's necessary sometimes.
The other thing that we have to be very careful of is we talk about alternative call handling. We should be sending social workers and we should be diverting these calls to another system. That system isn't properly funded. And so we've got to be careful that we build that up before we start diverting people. We did this in the '70s with the mental health system, and we said we're not going to lock people into state hospitals. We're going to send them back into the community for treatment. But that system never rose to the occasion. And that's why we are in the mess we're in right now with mental health issues.
COATES: Joshua, I'll give you the last word on this. What are those incentives the sheriff speaks of? What would that really look like that would be something that would be the kind of carrot that would provoke change? Is it financial?
SKULE: It's certainly financial. When you look at law enforcement agencies, the 18,000 that the sheriff talked about, over half of them have less than 20 departments. How are those funded? How are they paying for body-worn cameras? How are they changing training? What does a national standard look like and how is the federal government going to assist law enforcement with those cultural changes? I think those are really important issues to examine.
COATES: It really is. It speaks to the idea that universal and national standards that likely are included and some pending legislation, by the way, on issue. We'll how those all turn out. Thank you all.
Also, looking to Ohio where authorities are investigating an online home schooling network where parents allegedly shared pro-Nazi and white supremacist messages as education resources. And, shockingly, there might be little at all the state can actually do about it.
We'll explain, next.
COATES: Well, tonight, the investigations underway in Ohio by the state's education department. This following reports that parents were members of an online home schooling network are allegedly sharing white supremacist and pro-Nazi messages as educational resources to teach the children, said to be included are posts described as racist and anti-Semitic and homophobic. An education official says that very little can be done because the department does not review or approve home schooling curriculums.
CNN's Omar Jimenez is working on this developing story and he joins us now. Omar, I'm so glad to see you here and following this story because, really, it's pretty shocking to think that there's not the oversight that one would presume must happen. What can you tell us about the messages that this home schooling network has apparently been sharing amongst themselves?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laura. So, an official with the State Department of Education says that, really, while they're reviewing any compliance -- potential compliance issues here, there's not much they can do because they don't review or approve curriculums for home schooling.
Now, when you talk about what is actually, you know, being circulated here, this is a group that's believed to operate out of Upper Sandusky, Ohio, and they are not shy about their pro-Nazi, white supremacist, homophobic, you name it, it's probably in there, messages as they describe them though, lessons. You take a look at one lesson they posted around thanksgiving, copyrighting lesson, where they're teaching how to hand write but in this case using quotes from Hitler to do it.
Now, last month, as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day approached, Mrs. Saxon, a username, wrote, it's up to us to ensure our children know him, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the deceitful, dishonest, riot- inciting negro he actually was. He is the face of a movement which ethnically cleansed whites out of urban areas and precipitated the anti-white regime that we are now fighting to free ourselves from. And in bold, underline, the post continued saying, this is a unit study for elementary-aged children.
Now, one of the alleged leaders of this white supremacy social media messaging platform group, he has now -- is no longer working for his own family-owned and run business according to company who they put out a statement saying, the viewpoints and ideology recently expressed by Logan Lawrence and his wife in no way represent the values of Lawrence Insurance Agency, its owners or employees. Accordingly, we emphatically denounce what they've said and done. And we wholeheartedly empathize with all who have been hurt, upset, and disturbed by their conduct.
Now, an online research group named Logan and Katya Lawrence as those who run it, I've reached out to them many times, have not gotten a response at this point. But Logan's brother, Jordan, told me they, the larger family, had no idea this was happening. They are gutted to find out. They say it's not representative of who they are as a larger family. He says, he hasn't spoken to his brother in recent days.
And another source close to the family who says they have been getting threats as a result of this has said that there has been collateral damage in their community, in Upper Sandusky, which as you can imagine, is pretty small. But also that source said, it's pretty telling they did this in secret, implying that if they had known about it though, the surrounding community, the surrounding family, that they would have stopped this from happening, at the very least challenge them on this.
But as we talked about in the beginning, the local school officials, state school officials, have condemned it, not clear what they can actually do about it since it's home school.
COATES: Omar, pretty outstanding penmanship through Hitler lessons, discussions about Dr. King really outrageous. But thinking again, you said this is elementary schools in part, stunning. Omar Jimenez, thank you so much.
Want to bring in Scott Di Mauro. He is the president of the Ohio Educatio Association, which represents 120,000 teachers and faculty and support professionals in Ohio's schools.
Scott, I'm very glad you're here. It might be very stunning, not only the content of what was being circulated within this homeschooling organization, but I was surprised to find out that under Ohio law, the State Department of Education does not review or approve a home school curriculum, and parents just need nor to teach but need to provide 900 hours of instruction every year, notify the superintendent every year, provide assurance the teacher has a high school diploma or other equivalency and provide an assessment of the students' work including results of a nationally standardized test. Do these requirements, given what we're learning from this investigation, need to get much tougher?
SCOTT DIMAURO, PRESIDENT, OHIO EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: The answer is no. They do need to get tougher. There is an inherent problem with homeschooling requirements in Ohio and in other states that just allow for a -- almost completely unregulated system to move forward.
The problem is that local school districts that receive these reports or letters from families indicating they're planning on homeschooling their children don't really have the authority or capacity to provide oversight that I think is required.
And I'll be clear that I am sure that the vast majority of people who homeschool their children are not like the Lawrences. They all, you know, may have very good reasons for making that choice to homeschool their children. But this is an inherently unregulated system, and I don't know that there's a lot that can be done. What we ought to make sure that we're not doing is in any way subsidizing this action.
And in the state of Ohio right now, home school families get a $250 tax credit from the people of Ohio to offset their costs. There's legislation that's been introduced by members of the general assembly that would increase that to $2,000. I will say, for one, as a taxpayer, I don't want to subsidize people that are going to be teaching hateful ideology to children.
COATES: And yet -- I'm glad you mentioned that tax credit. And $250 is nothing to sneeze at. But in the long run, would it be, I wonder, if you were to remove that particular tax credit, would that be enough of an incentive for people to essentially teach according to a much more regulated system in the homeschool environment?
But I do know -- you mentioned that there has been swift condemnation from teachers, of course, in Ohio, and -- but yet, there's not been an agreement on how and what to do about this. And I think it speaks to a larger issue in a world where we're talking about parental involvement in schools, the idea of how one -- how could you possibly regulate what a parent wants to teach at home or to a spouse these viewpoints.
Is there some sort of a solution that you think right now is on the immediate horizon to address this, even outside of the tax credit, because I know that Governor Mike DeWine in Ohio has stopped short of saying whether he would actually explore policy solutions, and the Republican Senate president says he doesn't think that stricter homeschooling policies are the right answer necessarily? So, how do you find the middle ground to change it?
DIMAURO: I think it's going to be really tough, especially since in the Senate, there's legislation to restructure the State Department f Education to gut the authority of the State Board of Education. And in that legislation, it would be to even further deregulate home schooling in Ohio.
I don't know where the debate over regulation is going to go. But there is a larger movement that we're dealing with in Ohio and in many states across the country, and that is to take resources away from the 90 percent of children who attend our public schools and divert them to private options.
People have freedom. People have the opportunity to make choices to send their kids to private schools or to home school them, but it is not the responsibility of the tax payers of the state to subsidize those choices when we need to instead ensure that every single one of our students, regardless of race, regardless of their zip code, have the resources they need to reach and achieve their potential. That's where we need to focus our issues. Let's not get distracted by these kinds of side issues. Let's focus our attention on fully and fairly funding our public schools.
COATES: That's part of a much larger conversation. Just to give audience perspective here, we're talking about more than 51,000 during the 2020-2021 school year according to Fordham Institute for home schools in Ohio. We're talking about 2.1 percent of all k-12 students.
So, you know, not an insignificant, but not the majority having this particular access to this information, a really important conversation that does not have to end today. Nice speaking with you, Scott. Thank you so much.
DIMAURO: Thank you, Laura.
COATES: Well, Patrick Mahomes, otherwise known as Pat Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts, going in front of the cameras ahead of their big Super Bowl appearance, and they're talking about just how historic their matchup is.
COATES: On February 12th, two black quarterbacks will be starting in the Super Bowl for the very first time ever. And today, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, Pat Mahomes, and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Jalen Hurts, are both speaking out about the history- making occasion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QUARTERBACK: Yeah. I mean, to be on the world stage and have two black quarterbacks start in the Super Bowl, I think it's special. And I've learned more and more about the history of the black quarterbacks since I have been in this league. And the guys that came before me and Jalen set the stage for this. And now, I'm just glad we can set the stage for guys that are -- kids that are coming up now. JALEN HURTS, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES QUARTERBACK: Yeah. I think it's history. I think it's something worthy of being noted and it is history, you know, it has come a long way. I think there's only been seven African American quarterbacks to play in the Super Bowl. So, to be the first for (inaudible) is pretty cool. So, I know it will be a good one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Joining me now, CNN Sports Analyst Christine Brennan, and former NFL wide receiver, Donte Stallworth, both here with us. Let me begin with you, Donte. You heard Mahomes talking about and learning more about the black quarterbacks and sort of the history and the study (ph) of this as well. Talk to me about what this means, the historic significance of this, having two black quarterbacks playing in the big game.
DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL WIDE RECEIVER: It's huge. It's obviously is the first time. These two young men are extremely talented. They're leaders on the field and they're leaders in their community. And to have two guys that are not even in the prime of their careers, they're still young, they have many more years to play, hopefully.
And so, these two guys are leading these teams, two of the best teams in the NFL. They're going to square off next Sunday, and it's going to be huge not only because of on the field -- everything on the field but off the field obviously. These two kids are really good at what they do. They are really good at being leaders in the community.
But I think most importantly too, when you heard Patrick talk about off the field, he really -- as you grow in the league, you start to understand the history more. Doug Williams was obviously the first player to play in the NFL as a black quarterback, and he changed the narrative of what black quarterbacks can do in the NFL. Almost four years later now, you have two black quarterbacks that are playing in the Super Bowl.
COATES: Funny you should mention because I actually had a chance to interview Doug Williams earlier about this. And here is what he had to say thinking about this moment and the significance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOUG WILLIAMS, FIRST BLACK QUARTERBACK TO START AND WIN THE SUPER BOWL: You know, I can remember some 45 years ago that Vince Evans and myself were the first two quarterbacks to play in a regular NFL game back when I was at Tampa and he was at Chicago. And last night, when I was sitting there watching Patrick -- I had already seen Jalen win his game -- sitting there watching Patrick, so many anxiety came through to me, and from an emotional standpoint, you know, I got kind of emotional to see that really happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Christy, you used to cover him as well. Talk about the significance of this.
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: I covered that entire season for "The Washington Post," covering the Washington football team. Every second of that story of Doug, he wasn't the first starter. There was another player, named Jay Schroeder (ph).
But Joe Gibbs, the great Hall of Fame coach, decided to go with Doug for the playoffs and then, of course, for the Super Bowl, making him the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl. Hard to believe that was January of '88. And then, of course, he won the game and became the MVP heroic. He bent his knee back. We were talking about this earlier. He didn't -- he came out for a play. He wanted to fight to get back in that game, won the game, won the MVP award.
Doug comes from another era. He comes from a time, Laura and Donte, where guys were told, if you're a black man, you can't play quarterback, or if you play in college, you can't play in the pros. I cheered for a quarterback as a girl at the University of Tolito, Chuck Ealey, who had to go to Canadian to play quarterback. And yet, he was one of the best quarterbacks I've ever watched play.
But at that time, my dad told me, they're not going to play quarterback because they don't think black man have the ability or smart enough. It was just pure racism. And I learned that as a young girl, suburban white girl, because of Chuck Ealey.
And then to see Dough be able to pull it off, there was such joy for him, tears in his eyes, and I have to tell you as a hard-bitted journalist, there were probably tears in my eyes seeing him accomplish what 10, 12 years earlier, a man I cheered for, Chuck Ealey, could never have accomplished.
And now, to see this on one level, as we've talked about, we're shocked this is the first time --
BRENNAN: -- that two black men are starting, but what an achievement, and it certainly will not be the last time that two black men are starting.
COATES: And as you mentioned, Donte, the idea of age of these players as well and what younger people are looking at and seeing and the new what ought to be the norms happening again as well. And let's not forget, these are incredible athletes, period, point blank on that.
Let's turn to another one, however, because in a few games -- as we're talking about the Super Bowl coming up, in about, what, three games, I would say, I'm just averaging here, for a one man named Lebron James, who is within the sights of a significant record. It looks like he is going to surpass at some point this season, probably in the very near future, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time scoring leader, so significant. What would this mean for his legacy?
BRENNA: He's the greatest of all time, I think. And not just in basketball, but that staying power that we talked about with athletes. Ad I think also the way he's lived his life, Laura and Donte, in the public eye, someone who only went to high school, didn't go to college, just an exemplary American, a fine human being, a role model, giving back to the community in Akron in Northern Ohio, never a false step, never a mistake. Absolutely, the longevity, the human being that he is, it's remarkable to see and history will, of course, record him as one of our great, great athletes and great people.
COATES: He does -- he does as an athlete transcend his sport. What do you see? Obviously, you're a professional athlete in the football arena, but the idea of seeing the greatness, it's hard to not respect it.
STALLWORTH: Yeah. He's -- I mean, he's in, what, in his 20th year now? I mean, he's -- he came into the league as a young 18-year-old fresh out of high school as Christine said. He played his first game in Sacramento. I was there. I'm from Sacramento. And I had just gotten into the NFL. So, we kind of came into the NFL at the same time or we came in professional sports at the same time.
I have been out of the NFL for about 10 years, and he's still playing.
STALLWORTH: So, that's like, you know, to me that's mind boggling. But it's a testament to his work ethic. It's a testament to his craft and working on his craft and really just committing himself to not only, you know, staying physically fit, but you have to stay mentally fit. You have to -- the way he eats, the way he gets his rest, all that is important just as a professional athlete in general, but to sustain -- to have sustained consistency and greatness for so long, that is something that's really special.
COATES: I wonder if he has that Tom Brady diet. I mean, I don't know. I think about it all the time. I wonder if the fountain of youth is coming there in some way. I bet somehow it's always hard to get Lakers ticket in different places.
Something tells us they're going to be higher and higher prices all of a sudden in anticipation of this extraordinary event. So, we'll follow along. Thank you both.
Everyone, it looks like they're spreading love and affection. This Iranian couple dancing in Tehran's main square, but they were charged with spreading corruption and vice. And now, they have been given lengthy prison sentences. Prison for dancing, that story, next.
COATES: As part of the ongoing severe crackdown on dissent by Iran's hard-line regime, a young couple has been handed a lengthy prison sentence for dancing in the main square in Tehran. This is the video that got them into trouble, and it shows the woman dancing without her compulsory head scarf.
A source says, they were arrested by security forces days after, they posted a video on social media. A human rights groups reports they've been sentenced to 10 and a half years, charged of spreading corruption and device and disrupting national security.
Iran's judiciary says, they got a five-year sentence. Countless Iranians have been arrested and some executed for taking part in nationwide protests, following the death of a young woman in police custody late last year. She was accused of not covering her hair.
Well, these days, many American -- I mean, aspects of American politics seemed to erupt into a war of words. But what about the war over words? Is the battle over language alienating people in an attempt to be inclusive?
Well, my next guest says, that looks to be exactly the case.