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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT

Bloody Crackdown in Libya; One-on-One with Larry King

Aired February 23, 2011 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, HOST: One man sat down with Moammar Gadhafi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, FORMER CNN ANCHOR: Do you have a mistake that you wish you could do over?

MOAMMAR GADHAFI, LIBYAN LEADER (Through Translator): I admit, I confess that a number of mistakes happened.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: I went face to face with countless others, from the biggest stars on the planet to the biggest newsmakers of all time. Tonight, I'll interview a legend and one of my heroes, Larry King.

KING: Hey, Piers, it's great to be back.

MORGAN: And let's just say there are a few issues hanging in the air between us.

KING: I know what you're going to ask me.

MORGAN: Also tonight, the tragic suicide of an NFL star. Why his family says danger on the field is to blame.

And my exclusive interview with Michael Lohan. Is his daughter, Lindsay, headed back to jail?

This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.

Good evening. I'll be talking to my special guest, a very special guest, Larry King, in just a moment. But first, the latest on the bloody crackdown in Libya.

Moammar Gadhafi is ordering his country's military to attack anti-government protesters. And as violence spreads, there are estimates of the death toll may be as high as 1,000 and rising fast.

President Obama today blasted the Gadhafi regime in this manner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The suffering and bloodshed is outrageous and it is unacceptable. So are threats and orders to shoot peaceful protesters and further punish the people of Libya.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: CNN's Ben Wedeman is live in Benghazi, the second largest city in Libya, tonight.

Ben, you've done an extraordinary job to get where you are. What have you found since getting there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What I found, Piers, is something amazing, that local people -- lawyers, businessmen and others -- have set up what amounts to an ad hoc government with committees dealing everything, food supply, public health, even garbage collection. And they say they're doing a much better job than the government did when Moammar Gadhafi ran the show. Piers.

MORGAN: But you're inside at the moment, for security reasons which we completely understand. What do you sense about the movement now against Gadhafi? Are we seeing a similar situation to Egypt? More bloodthirsty but with a similar end game? Could this be over quickly?

WEDEMAN: It's not clear but it's a much more complicated situation. Let's not forget, that President Hosni Mubarak, despite everything, after 18 days of largely peaceful protests, stepped down understanding that his people simply did not want him anymore.

Here, the situation seems to be completely different. The feeling on the ground is that Moammar Gadhafi, after 42 years, is not going to give up without a fight. He's been willing to use aircraft to fire upon peaceful protesters.

Today, apparently he tried to send two of his own warplanes to Benghazi, to destroy oil facilities south of the city, however the difference is the pilots apparently didn't want any part of it. They ejected and ditched their planes in the sea. Apparently, it's clear that he is -- his military is not at all eager to carry out his orders.

But he is a man, unlike President Hosni Mubarak, who's extremely unpredictable -- Piers.

MORGAN: Ben Wedeman, thank you very much for that report.

Now I come to somebody who -- I won't even going to bother introducing him. It's Larry King.

KING: Don't bother.

MORGAN: Larry.

KING: Piers.

MORGAN: How are you?

KING: I am well.

MORGAN: Does it feel weird being on that side of the desk?

KING: A little.

MORGAN: Is it?

KING: Yes. Well, it's not my set. It's a beautiful set, by the way.

MORGAN: Do you like it?

KING: Yes. It was weird coming in here tonight.

MORGAN: It must have been.

KING: It's my corner, you know, Larry King square, it was nice look it's still there.

MORGAN: Yes. Still have some pictures of you.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: I feel like I followed Mubarak, you know? There's pictures of him all over the place.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: But I would say, it's good to be back. It's nice, it's a comfortable feeling. I spent a lot of years here.

MORGAN: The most relevant aspect, I guess, of us talking this evening is that you actually interviewed Gadhafi. I want to play --

KING: Yes, sure.

MORGAN: I want to play a little clip from that interview to remind you and then we'll talk about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: A convicted killer returned home to the greetings of a hero. Greeted like a hero.

GADHAFI (Through Translator): How do you see the -- how do you see the hero's welcome? I mean how is it?

KING: I saw it everywhere. I'm told everyone saw it. He was greeted at the airport with cheers.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: What did you make of him?

KING: Difficult. Difficult interview. You know interviewing gives you a lot of one-liners. He made us wait two hours we were taping. And we had done Chavez that day from Venezuela and we had also done Ahmadinejad from Iran. So it was a full day. And now this was like 8:00 at night. And he didn't sit down until 10:00, and Fareed Zakaria was going after me.

When they bring him in, two guys come in first, and they go, and now Brother Leader.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And Brother Leader didn't like the couch. So Brother Leader left and we had to change the couch.

I found him difficult, interesting, and a little like his solution to the Mideast was a little weird.

MORGAN: I mean, his speech the other day was completely crackers, wasn't it? I mean the irony of him saying they're all on drugs. He looked like he was.

KING: And he wants to call -- he thinks the Middle East should come together and be Israelistine.

MORGAN: What would you -- I mean, listen. You've covered -- you've interviewed every serious leader in this region going back 30 years. What do you make of what's going on now? What's your overview of him?

KING: I think he may not last. I think -- I think this is growing throughout. I think this has spread. The Internet started it. I guess it started by Twitter, didn't it?

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: Which is extraordinary, right?

KING: Yes. One guy in Tunisia kills himself and -- so the world could change in a day. I wouldn't bet that he lasts. Once the people's revolt start I think it becomes like a snowball.

MORGAN: When he says that he'll die as a martyr if he needs to, do you believe --

KING: Right. Yes, he might.

MORGAN: You think he's the kind of character that would?

KING: I don't think he's going to run. Yes. He would and he'd see himself going up to heaven with something. I don't think he's going up.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: On the scale of all the dictators you've interviewed, where does he rank, do you think, Gadhafi? Because he has a certain notoriety in America for obvious reasons, Lockerbie and other things. KING: Well, as a dictator, he's among the worst. As an interview he is the worst. He's not an easy person to talk to as opposed to, say, Chavez, who is terrific to talk to. Some people are like American. Chavez would be a successful -- in my opinion -- American politician. He has flair, has dynamism, he has exuberance. He comes in the room, he changes the room.

MORGAN: Talking of people -- the flare and dynamism, you've never really revealed your political colors. You know you've been able to. You've always felt the --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Nobody stopped me. I just felt that I had a role as an interviewer and my role was -- I had simple rules. I leave myself out of it. I never used the word I, don't give an opinion. I'm a conduit to the audience, ask short questions, try to keep the show moving and be relevant, and be interesting, and be entertaining at the same time.

But I thought if I start giving my opinions, that changed the picture. And of course today now most shows are opinionated.

MORGAN: Do you feel more able to give opinion now out of the nightly show?

KING: Not really, no, because I'm going to do other things.

MORGAN: If I asked you what you thought of Obama and how he's getting on, what would you say?

KING: I would say he had a difficult start. He's getting better. And it doesn't appear that anyone has come forward yet that I would say is going to be a major challenge. Probably -- Democrats are hoping they nominate Sarah Palin.

MORGAN: What do you think would happen if they do?

KING: They would win. The Democrats would win.

MORGAN: Sarah Palin is too polarizing.

KING: Yes. And I think she could win the Republican nomination if there's nine people running, she gets 30 percent, she wins, but she'd -- America goes to the middle.

MORGAN: Our mutual friend Donald Trump was on the poll yesterday. He came on my show and said --

KING: Where did he finish?

MORGAN: Well, it's actually interesting. They said if he run against Obama tomorrow he would end up two points behind him which was a remarkably close poll and I think snapped everyone's eyelids back. Because when he came in here and said he may well run, the audience I had that day went crazy. I mean Trump does have kind of appeal, doesn't he? KING: But he -- I love Donald, but he does this every election. He's going to run.

MORGAN: You don't believe him.

KING: He did it to me. He had this guy -- somebody, Stone, the guy was -- Roger Stone was his front man, to sound off -- I don't think -- the reason I don't think Donald will run as much as I like him and admire him, I don't think he could stand losing.

MORGAN: Another survey this week said that the greatest American president was Reagan. What do you think? You've interviewed --

KING: I knew him well. I know -- Nancy and I are friends. She's friends with our family. In fact we have lunch -- my wife and I have lunch with Nancy like once a month. I liked him very much.

I think he was failing at the end. I think Iran contra did him in. He had a steadfastness that people liked. He looked great. He brought that acting skills to what he did. Although in the CNN poll he didn't win.

MORGAN: Who did?

KING: CNN poll -- I think Kennedy won. John Kennedy won.

MORGAN: Who would be the one in your lifetime that you think was the most effective president?

KING: Clinton. I mean he was -- there's nothing like Bill Clinton. I mean even -- if the other candidates would agree, there was -- just being around him, he changes the room. He's a great interview. He cares, he stares at you, he looks, he gets involved. Just annoying is he's always late.

MORGAN: As my favorite moment of your farewell show when you said that you and he shared the zipper club. No one was quite sure what you meant, Larry.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: I knew what I meant.

MORGAN: I don't think President Clinton knew what you meant.

KING: That was funny.

MORGAN: We're going to take a short break and when we come back, I've got a bone to pick with you. And I think you know what it is.

KING: Pick it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: I'm back with Larry King.

Now Larry, you did an interview with Radio 4 in England the other day, my country. You're in my city. And you said --

KING: By the way, the interview was about an opera.

MORGAN: Well, wait a minute. I'm going to play you a clip from this interview.

KING: Go ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: I think one of the problems they did was oversell it. He was going to be dangerous. He was going to be watercooler talk. Wait until you see me, I'm different. He's good. He's not that dangerous. You know, so I think, in cable and talk, they might have been better off just starting quiet.

That's not Piers's fault or maybe it is. I don't know the -- I'm not -- I'm not inside anymore. I like him. He's certainly not bad, he's certainly an acceptable host. He asks good questions. Maybe he interrupts a little too much at times. I think the public might have trouble adjusting to the British --

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Now, Larry, look, I have spent the last few months saying following you is like following Frank Sinatra. I couldn't have paid you higher praise.

KING: I didn't -- first of all --

MORGAN: You go in my backyard and say I'm an oversold.

KING: Have you read the full quote?

MORGAN: I'm dangerous.

KING: I said he's fine. I thought you are -- what you did was or what they did -- were you being facetious when you said I was dangerous?

MORGAN: Well, look --

KING: Was that an attempt at British humor?

MORGAN: Let me ask you. How many of my shows have you watched?

KING: About -- now about eight.

MORGAN: You have?

KING: I haven't seen you dangerous yet. I mean you -- I said you're capable, but what happens is, here's what I think. Supposing -- all right, we're going to do four specials for CNN, first one's in April. We're still working on them. But supposing I said, this first special will be the greatest special in the history of American television. MORGAN: Mm-hmm.

KING: The best. And dangerous.

MORGAN: I mean what was I supposed to --

KING: It's going to kill you. It's so special.

MORGAN: But Larry, Larry. I can hardly come in and undersell that.

KING: I can't live up to that.

MORGAN: Yes, but we can't come in and undersell. I'm following a legend.

KING: You don't --

MORGAN: You can't follow Sinatra in Vegas and say --

KING: Thank you.

MORGAN: By the way I'm not very good and this is going to be useless.

KING: Why can't you just say, Piers Morgan, I'm coming, watch me. Piers Morgan starts next Monday. What's wrong with that?

MORGAN: I suppose I've always oversold myself. I quite like doing that. It's quite funny.

KING: But then it's disappointing when you don't.

MORGAN: Well, to you it is. It was to me. I think it's been going quite well.

KING: See, like, you told Letterman you were going to punch me. Right?

MORGAN: That's not strictly true. Letterman said to me --

KING: My spy told me.

MORGAN: No, Letterman said to me I need you to punch somebody to get the ratings up. And I said, what if it was Larry, and we decided that punching you would not be a good move.

KING: Not be a great move.

MORGAN: But now you've challenged me to be dangerous.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Maybe I should. But look, I want to show you something. I now wear the suspenders in this town, Larry King.

KING: Oh my gosh. Take the jacket off.

MORGAN: I can't. (INAUDIBLE) wider. A little flash of my suspenders. This is for you.

KING: I am honored. See, that's a tribute.

MORGAN: This is a tribute.

KING: OK. I still --

MORGAN: You're my hero.

KING: I know that and I appreciate it. And I appreciate you. I just think you oversold it.

MORGAN: OK. Well, the honest truth, Larry, is, you know how I feel? I actually feel incredible privilege and an honor that I am replacing you at CNN. I don't feel like I'm replacing you. You can't replace someone like you. And every day I do this my admiration for what you achieved grows. Because I've done 22 shows. I feel like I've been in a war zone.

And you did 7,000 shows in 25 years. And part of me, just the sheer stamina that you showed is awesome. I do. I feel a great sense of honor and a great sense of --

KING: Thank you.

MORGAN: And a great sense of, you know, like the legacy you've left, I carry with it a great responsibility to try and live up to the legacy that you left for me.

KING: I don't know what to say except thank you. I appreciate it.

MORGAN: Well, I want to -- I want you to watch the show and to feel that it gets better. And you feel like I'm dangerous. I have to start hitting people or something.

KING: When you said dangerous, what did you mean?

MORGAN: I think -- I was only kidding. But --

KING: OK. You see. Ah-ha. British humor?

MORGAN: Yes, it is British. You didn't get it.

KING: I'm from Brooklyn.

MORGAN: It's British humor.

KING: In Brooklyn, if you say I'm dangerous you better be dangerous.

MORGAN: You Brooklyn guys have never got my jokes.

KING: You better be dangerous.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Thank you. Thank you.

MORGAN: Let me ask -- let me ask you. I meant that sincerely. What do you miss most about this show because you did it for so long. What are the things that when you wake up you think, wow?

KING: I miss asking questions. I miss interviewing. When an Egypt happens or a Libya, I miss that.

MORGAN: It is the thing, isn't it?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: Yes, of course. You want to be in the -- you want to be in the mix. When you're not in the mix -- but I don't miss -- I love, for example, the reason I'm not doing an hour tonight and so that I can -- I'm a coach of my boy's little league team.

MORGAN: I know.

KING: I've got to be at his practice and I want to be at their practice.

MORGAN: I'm told --

KING: I want to be at their games.

MORGAN: I'm told you're quite a lively coach, Larry. That you --

KING: I got thrown out of a game once.

MORGAN: You did?

KING: No, twice.

MORGAN: For screaming at the officials?

KING: Two things ticked me about that. One, he was safe.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: That ticks me. And two --

MORGAN: That was quite dangerous, ironically.

KING: My wife, Shawn, who I love and who was very beautiful, supported the ump.

MORGAN: That's no good.

KING: Go out and be quiet. What do you mean, go out -- go out to your car and be quiet. The ump told me to go back to CNN. I had to sit -- you know embarrassing, I had to sit in the car outside the field and get reports on the phone. Ridiculous.

MORGAN: So here's the funny thing. Here's the thing, I declared myself as Mr. Dangerous and you declared me completely safe. You have always been declared safe.

KING: Not on baseball.

MORGAN: And here you are emerging as Mr. Dangerous.

KING: Baseball is different. Hey, I'm from Brooklyn. If you're from Brooklyn, sports matter. They really matter. And I get involved, I want to be involved. I'll calm this year.

MORGAN: Do you ever get physical? Do you ever hit?

KING: No, no, no. Wait. Are you kidding? Hit someone?

MORGAN: Have you got that in you?

KING: No, no, no. I'm not a fighter, never been a fighter.

MORGAN: If I suddenly spot to brawl with you just to get ratings up, I mean would you hold your own?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: That's another thing I never thought of. I never thought about ratings, good or bad, I did the best show I could do. And you can't do anything about it. You can't grab someone and say watch me.

MORGAN: Why do you think the ratings fell in the way that they did in your last couple of years?

KING: I think television changed. I think it just -- maybe this kind of format is going to be hard.

MORGAN: It is hard.

KING: It's now the screaming host. It's the host who the -- the guest is a prop. On these other shows, the guest is a prop. It's what the host thinks. You know it's like the old joke about enough about me, let's talk about you, what do you think of me?

MORGAN: Yes.

KING: I don't like that. But it's in. So I think -- I think it will -- what goes around comes around.

MORGAN: You --

KING: I was very proud of what I did in the last year and the first year.

MORGAN: Well, the 25th anniversary was extraordinary. I remember watching you. You had an incredible array of guests.

KING: They did a great -- the producers did a great job.

MORGAN: Yes. It seemed like a perfect time for you to bow out really. I thought -- you've always got to quit leaving the public wanting more, isn't it?

KING: Yes. That's true.

MORGAN: That's the trick.

KING: As Colin Powell said, when you get to the last stop on the train, get off. You have to know when to get off.

MORGAN: When you --

KING: I think I got off at the right time.

MORGAN: You did. When you -- when you had the last show, what were your emotions as it --

(CROSSTALK)

KING: It was very hard. People crying. We had some tender moments, wonderful statements from the president and from Clinton and --

MORGAN: You looked quite emotional at the end. You shed a tear?

KING: It was tough. Yes, it was -- it was tough. I mean, my kids were funny. It was hard. It's going to be hard to leave. When you're here 30 years.

MORGAN: I sincerely hope I'm here at least another year, Larry. Not 30.

KING: How long did they guarantee you?

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Don't worry, I'm here for a year.

When we come back, I'm going to talk to you about a subject I think you are a world expert on. And that is marriage.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: This is costume jewelry, right?

ELIZABETH TAYLOR, ACTRESS: What?

KING: Wait a minute. These are diamonds?

TAYLOR: You bet your ass they are.

KING: OK. All right. I've never had anyone pitch diamond jewelries on the air like, look at these, look at these. Call in, folks, let's start the bidding at $100,000. This is a diamond studded necklace with pearls.

TAYLOR: You got it.

KING: Where did you get that ring?

TAYLOR: Richard. Richard gave it.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: That was one of the greatest of Larry Kings celebrity guests, Elizabeth Taylor. I've got to put it to you, Larry, I mean you've been married eight times.

KING: Seven times. Six women.

MORGAN: Well, eight times and twice to the same woman, right? Or is it seven times?

KING: Seven times. Six times -- well, actually six -- I forget.

MORGAN: Number three you married twice.

KING: The only one that counts is the one now, yes.

MORGAN: Is your current one. Yes. Liz Taylor has been married eight times. Did you ever think it might have been easy if the two of you just got together early?

KING: Never thought of it. One advantage, we're both Jewish.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: No.. You know, I have regrets. I've had a few regrets. A few -- but Shawn is a terrific lady. Love -- gave me two little kids. She's a piece of work.

MORGAN: In a good way?

KING: Yes. She's challenging. Let's put it that way.

MORGAN: What do you -- I mean are you an incurable romantic at heart?

KING: I like romance. I like -- I like love. I like to get a gift that surprises -- I don't like to receive a gift but I like to give the gift.

MORGAN: When you were pursuing Shawn, I mean it was like with a vengeance.

KING: It was -- a vengeance.

MORGAN: I mean there was know stopping you.

KING: No.

MORGAN: You were going to throw the kitchen sink at this.

KING: She wanted -- she mentioned she liked merry chino cherries. I sent her that every day.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: But then -- you know what I did? I just got -- she sleeps late, there she is. Shawn is not an early riser, but I thought it would be romantic to have a rose delivered every day to her door when we were courting. So there was a rose every day at her door.

MORGAN: For how long?

KING: Until the flower guy said, you know, she leaves a note, just leave it.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Do you believe this is it now? Is this the last time?

KING: Yes. That's it. Sure, it's it.

MORGAN: How can you be sure?

KING: How can you be sure of anything? As sure as I am of anything, this is it. And hey, I'm getting up there, too. I'm 77 years old.

MORGAN: Yes, but there's no stopping you, is there? I mean you have the extraordinary stamina.

KING: I've always had -- I've always had a lot of stamina. I've always had -- I'm still doing things. I'm going to -- we're going to have some announcements coming?

MORGAN: Yes, tell me what you're up to.

KING: Well, there are things that are coming that are going to be terrific in the broadcasting end and I'm also in the world of business. I'm going on the board of advisers of a company called Forbes Manhattan. It's a merchant bank that invests in mining companies.

I'm going to be an advisor.

MORGAN: Really?

KING: Yes, what do you make of that? We've got a Brooklyn Water Bagel Company. You got to come, we've got a grand opening here, March 17th.

MORGAN: I'd love to.

KING: It's a chain of -- it's franchises that they can duplicate the water that comes from Brooklyn, which is the best water in America, New York City water. We can make that. And I'm the -- I'm their spokesman and I also have the Beverly Hills franchise.

MORGAN: And when is your stand-up tour starting?

KING: It starts in April in Torrington, Connecticut, and I'm going to do comedy and talk about life.

MORGAN: And you're going to be nice to me, aren't you, Larry? You're not going around America just calling me the safest pair of hands in the history of television.

KING: No, I'm going to -- here's what I will say about you.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Piers Morgan is gentle and sweet and not dangerous.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: I wouldn't try that line in Britain if you go there. I don't think they'd buy it.

KING: Oh, yes? You thought she wasn't 19?

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: Larry, we've run out of time but would you come on properly for an hour if we do --

KING: Yes. The only reason I did this less was --

MORGAN: You got the little league. I have so much to talk to you about. I mean genuinely, you're one of my heroes. I want to talk to you about the great --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: The great interview --

KING: I'd be delighted.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: I want to get some tips from the master.

KING: What's that?

MORGAN: Well, this is a little gift for you. Because obviously I'm wearing these as well. And I thought it was only appropriate that I present you with a pair of good old-fashioned United Kingdom suspenders.

KING: I am honored.

MORGAN: It's the honorary handover. KING: I am honored. United Kingdom suspenders.

MORGAN: Yes. I think they'd look good on you. I wouldn't wear them tonight at the little league though. It may not work very well.

KING: They're clip-ons.

MORGAN: They're not the real deal.

KING: They're buttons. In Britain, they call them braces, right. We call them suspenders. They call them braces. Am I right? Did I stump you there? Do they call them braces?

MORGAN: Suspenders are for lady's underwear. When they said to me, you have to wear suspenders, I was like, what? What the hell was Larry King up to?

KING: So I've been wearing lady's underwear?

MORGAN: That's what the Brits think. They're reckoning suspenders, they think you've been wearing lady's underwear.

KING: You're dangerous. You're dangerous.

MORGAN: Larry, it's been a pleasure having you on. Thank you again.

KING: Do it again.

MORGAN: We will.

MORGAN: Coming up next, tragedy on the field. Is the game to blame for a pro football player's death? My prime time exclusive with his family.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Dave Duerson was a two-time Super Bowl winning player for the Chicago Bears and the New York Giants. Tragically, he shot himself in the chest last week, leaving his loved ones asking did concussions on the field damage his brain. Joining me now is Dave Duerson's ex-wife, Alicia, and his son, Tregg.

Good evening to you both. First of all, please accept my very sincere sympathy over this appalling tragedy. Let me ask you both -- and maybe start with you Alicia, why do you believe that it was the damage to Dave's head that caused what happened to him?

ALICIA DUERSON, EX-WIFE OF DAVE DUERSON: Dave was a brilliant man. He never had any type of mental or physical problems whatsoever. And football is a very violent sport. There was a lot of times he did have a lot of concussions in the NFL.

MORGAN: He also -- he left a note after taking his life, in which he said, please see that my brain is given to the NFL's brain bank. So, clearly, when he wrote that, he believed that the -- what he had suffered since giving up football had made him reach the point of wanting to take his life?

A. DUERSON: I wouldn't say -- I don't know if -- I don't want to put word's in Dave's mouth, if that's the real reason he took his life. He took his life. We all know that. His wishes were that his brain be examined, because he was experiencing lots of memory loss, lots of blurred vision, lots of headaches, just a lot of things that he never experienced before in his adult life.

MORGAN: He was obviously a very big, tough football player. He suffered a number of concussions in his career. Do you remember when he came home after those games, what kind of condition he was in?

A. DUERSON: Sometimes he would come home and he had extreme headaches, dizziness, and he was just tired and he would want to just lay down for a while and just relax. The most part, Dave was -- Dave kept a lot of stuff inside -- you know, held inside.

But there were times when we would meet after the game and he would want me to drive because he felt dizziness or he just didn't feel stable.

MORGAN: And Tregg, let me ask you -- obviously, desperate loss for you to lose your father. You yourself played football when you were younger. You suffered a concussion yourself, didn't you?

TREGG DUERSON, SON OF DAVD DUERSON: I did, playing in high school. I concussed during a game. Waking up the next morning was the only thing I could remember. I remember having a conversation with my father and he seemed very concerned afterwards.

MORGAN: There are lots of NFL players who have taken their lives over the years, many of whom were found later to have suffered brain damage as a result many believe comes from the constant collision of helmets in particular.

Do you think there's a link? Do you think it's a credible link between that kind of impact damage and the depression and brain damage that follows afterwards?

T. DUERSON: I think these guys that are playing in the NFL now are very large and very fast. I think that type of impact would definitely have an effect on the brain.

A. DUERSON: Yes.

MORGAN: What kind of man was your father, Tregg. I'm sorry, after you, Alicia.

A. DUERSON: I was going to add to that, you have to remember, the game is bigger and faster now. But back when Dave played, the helmets weren't quite the same as they are right now. You know, Dave played strong safety, free safety. And when he went in the 46, he was a lineman.

So he would go against even bigger guys than what he normally was. You know, he would play a Singletary position, but he had a smaller body.

MORGAN: I think that's a very significant point you raise there, which is the quality of the helmets certainly when he was playing would have been nowhere near as good as they are today. Let me ask you, Tregg, what kind of man was your father?

T. DUERSON: He was a great man. He was a general, you know. Every moment he spent with me and my brothers and sister were to prepare us for our future. It was always a life lesson whenever we talked with my dad.

MORGAN: Alicia, what would you say about Dave now?

A. DUERSON: I would say that I'm very proud of Dave, that even in his darkest moment that he thought of others, and he wanted to help future athletes, future players that would come into the sport.

Dave loved the sport of football. There's no denying that. Besides a great athlete, he was a great father and a great man. He believed in doing everything to its best. I just -- I just am so proud of him.

MORGAN: I'm sure you are. We are going to take a short break. When we come back, I want to bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta to explain how dangerous a concussion really is, particularly in NFL.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWS BREAK)

MORGAN: Back now with Alicia and Tregg Duerson. I also want to bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, let me go to you straight away on this.

It's obviously a tragic story. It's one of many incidences we're now seeing of NFL players who appear to be suffering acute depression. Many have committed suicide. And people are linking it back to the concussions and the brain damage they may have suffered as players. What do you think?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Amazingly, piers, the research is still pretty early. People have been paying attention to this over the last several years. I don't think they can draw an absolute cause and effect relationship here.

You know, the association is becoming increasingly clear. What we can say are a couple of things. First of all, there are a lot of players who are going to get lots of concussions over their career who are not going to have these symptoms. So it's not pre-ordained, by any means, that everyone who has multiple concussions is going to develop this sort of -- what is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, CTE, to which you were referring earlier,

But there does seem to be an association. We also know that people who have a concussion, then they have a seconds concussion before the first heals, before the brain really heals from that, that can be exponentially worse. We know that the particular place where they're studying this, out of 40 or so brains that they have looked at, about 30 of those players -- 30 of those brains did have evidence of this.

Piers, take a look at this image real quick, if you can. Sometimes picture is worth a thousand words. On the far left, that is a normal brain. You see a brain on top. And you see it under microscopic magnification at the bottom. That's normal.

In the middle obviously looks abnormal to some extent. What that brownish area is plaques and tangles. That was the brain of a 45- year-old football player who had had multiple concussions.

On the far right over there is a 70-year-old brain. This person was a boxer who suffered from something known as pugilistic dementia, which you see a lot of those plaques and tangles that are often associated with Alzheimer's.

This is what they're talking about, Piers. They're seeing those sorts of changes in the brain in people that are far too young to expect that sort of thing, Piers.

MORGAN: Fascinating stuff, Sanjay. Let me go back to Alicia and Tregg. What do you make of what you heard from Sanjay?

A. DUERSON: I make what he says is very correct. One of the things that I also wanted to say was that when Dave was having concussions back in the '90s, in the '80s, you know, he might have had a concussion, but the next -- he went back out to practice or he went back into the game.

I don't know if -- I don't remember anybody telling him, OK, don't play next week or don't come to practice next week because you suffered a concussion in the game. It was just part of the game back then. I think back then, they were gladiators. They just played and played and played, until they couldn't play anymore.

I think a concussion back in the day wasn't that big a deal, as now cases have shown that it was a bigger deal.

MORGAN: I think that's an interesting point you raise. Tregg, let me ask you, finally, when you think of your father, does any part of you now wish he had never played NFL?

T. DUERSON: Well, I mean, I would want my father to do what he loved. And my father loved playing football. I know he had some great years and met some great people with the guys that he played. So I'm supportive of my father.

MORGAN: Sanjay --

A. DUERSON: If the question is --

MORGAN: Sorry, Alicia.

A. DUERSON: If we could have him here with us, I would take him over any NFL career.

T. DUERSON: Of course. If that meant he'd be here, of course.

MORGAN: I totally understand that. Let me repeat, I have enormous sympathy for both of you on this terrible tragedy. Sanjay, let me end with you, if I may.

What should the NFL be doing now about this? Clearly, there is a problem here with concussions and with these players getting bigger, faster stronger. It's not going to get any better, is it?

GUPTA: I asked Tregg and Odis, who was a player with David, that same question yesterday. Odis, very interestingly, responded, look, it has become a faster, harder game. If you're truly worried about it, don't play football. That was his answer.

Having said that, I think the culture in the NFL, Piers, really needs to change. And it is starting to change to some extent. What Alicia just mentioned I think is so important, this idea of people playing through it. I spoke to Kurt Warner, who is an MVP football player. He said that was part of the culture for so long. You took a hard hit, got right back in the game.

I talked to Fred McNeil, another well-known football player, who is now retired, who is going through some of the same things that Dave Duerson went through. I think people for a long time kept quiet about it. I think the culture probably needs to change. And it needs to start with if people do take a hard hit, that brain needs to heal, Piers, before a player can get back in this game. That's probably step number one.

MORGAN: I think that's absolutely right. Hopefully, Alicia and Tregg, if there's one good to come out of this, it is that steps are taken very quickly to prevent the kind of thing that happened to Dave happening to more players. Thank you all for your time this evening.

When we come back, the latest on Lindsay Lohan. Is she headed back to jail? I have an exclusive interview with her father, Michael.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: You're looking at pictures of Lindsay Lohan walking out of court earlier today. A judge just warned her if she tries to cop a plea on a theft charge, she's going to jail.

I'm joined now by Lindsay's father, Michael. Tough day for the family. You were in court today.

MICHAEL LOHAN, FATHER OF LINDSAY LOHAN: Yeah.

MORGAN: What went on there? What are you feeling now?

LOHAN: It was much tougher on Lindsay than it was on us. Although I'm her dad and I'm sure Dina feels the same as I do. I've been there before. So there's nothing like being -- sitting in that position before a judge and him saying that you're getting jail time. I've never heard that before, to be quite honest. Usually, they weigh out the evidence and hear both sides of the case before they say you're getting jail. So I'm a little confused by that.

MORGAN: You're aware -- you read the papers and magazines and stuff -- that a lot of people blame you the parents for what's happened to Lindsay. What do you say to that?

LOHAN: Justifiably, no doubt, 100 percent. Dina and I are responsible. And I have to say myself more than Dina, because if it wasn't for the fight I had when I caught her brother smoking crack at my son's party -- I reacted the wrong way. I did not have to beat him up. I did not have to react the way I did.

Inevitably, that was the launch for our divorce. Dina had a choice. From her family, either it was me or her family. And she chose her family. And that broke Lindsay's heart.

To be quite honest, I work with Inspirations Teen Rehab and we deal with this all the time. I just got back from Boca Raton and specifically spoke on his. It's called a broken heart syndrome. When there's trauma that occurs in a child's life, they develop a crack in their heart, whether it's abuse or the result of a divorce. There's a family dynamic that these kids need that need to be upheld.

And when a family breaks apart, you're pulling at both sides of a child. You fill it with all the wrong things. Until you close that gap, and you get it all out, that child is never going to be better.

MORGAN: People still see you and Dina squabbling. They see her popping on TV and so on. The war continues. And in the middle of it, they see this desperate girl, who should be having the most amazing career, but is clearly at the moment in an appalling place in her life. Substance abuse and alcohol abuse and now theft charges.

She's looking like she's going back to jail. Will that be a wake up call for all of you, do you think?

LOHAN: It's been a wake up call for me. Piers, as God is my witness, I've been -- I've had my hands out and my arms open to Dina. And I've said to her a number of times, through attorneys and everyone else, please, let's put our differences aside and just show we're there for Lindsay. Let's just be there whenever she needs us during the holidays, if she wants to talk to us.

No more squabbling. No more talking to the kids, bad mouthing me. The parental alienation has to got stop. This kid is suffering. And Ally, Michael and Cody are going to feel it, as well. Maybe not now. But down he road, it's going to happen. So why not stop? We have to put this aside.

MORGAN: Does Lindsay know she's going to jail?

LOHAN: She's afraid she is.

MORGAN: Her lawyer said to you this is pretty likely? LOHAN: No. But after court, Lindsay said daddy, what can we do? What am I going to do? I said, honey, we have to fight this. She said, well, I'm told that if I fight it, it might be worse. But her only chance is to fight it.

See, it happened to me, too. I was facing 15 years for RICO when I was working on the commodity change. And I fought that. And I fought it and it was dropped down to nothing. All they had on me was contempt, because I wouldn't tell on anybody. But they hit me with three separate one year charges. But you have to fight.

MORGAN: If Lindsay admits to any tiny crime here, takes any plea deal, she's in violation of her parole and she goes to jail.

LOHAN: You got it.

MORGAN: You say, as her father, the best course of action is not to do that but to fight, fight, fight, even though if she does that, and she loses, the end punishment could be a longer term in prison.

LOHAN: They say that. You have to look at the circumstances in the case. There's so many factors that have to be taken into consideration. There hasn't been any psychological studies done on why Lindsay reacted the way she did in many cases in her life.

Then again, there's a lot of evidence they haven't heard yet. I just presented --

MORGAN: Do you think she's innocent of stealing the jewelry?

LOHAN: Absolutely. And X-17 Online has a tape online right now, that just went up, that will show you that Lindsay gets offered jewelry, tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry, all the time. And she returns it. What she doesn't return she buys. And I've bought some of it for her.

MORGAN: Is she scared, Michael?

LOHAN: Of course she is. And I'm scared. And I'm sure Dina is scared. And the rest of our family is scared.

MORGAN: Do you think she could cope with being in jail, given the state that she's reached?

LOHAN: Of course. I think she's a very, very strong person. Can she cope? Yeah. But will it have long-reaching effects? Absolutely. It did with me and it still does today.

MORGAN: Does a part of you wish you had never got into the movie business? Do you think becoming famous and wealthy just made the whole situation ten times worse?

LOHAN: People ask me that because they compare me to Billy Ray Cyrus, what he's going through. And he's going through the same thing I am.

MORGAN: He says he wished Miley had never gone down that road.

LOHAN: You know what? I never considered it, but I had to consider it. And you know what? We were a happy family. We were "the Brady Bunch" of Cold Spring Harbor. Everyone wanted the kids at our house. I coached all my kids' sports. And we were happy.

But then again, it's a double edge sword, because Lindsay is such a gifted person. And God wants you to use your gifts.

MORGAN: Such a waste of a talent, isn't it? I remember watching her movies and thinking what a great young actress. At the peak of her powers, it reminds me of Amy Winehouse in Britain, the singer. Very similar kind of story, you know. And I just hope she gets herself through this and back together. I think everyone does.

LOHAN: Yeah.

MORGAN: I think you as a family somehow come together.

LOHAN: That's the most important thing. And that's why I -- look it, I'm going to tell you this myself. This has all been so much of a stress on me. I have my struggles, too.

MORGAN: I'm going to have to stop, unfortunately. Will you come back again and talk more about this?

LOHAN: Absolutely.

MORGAN: I think everyone wants to hear that this is going to get resolved in a good way for Lindsay.

LOHAN: Absolutely.

MORGAN: Thank you, Michael.

LOHAN: It's a pleasure.

MORGAN: That's all for tonight. And here's my colleague Anderson Cooper with "AC 360."