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Thousands March in Washington; LAPD Criticized Over Dorner's Death; Danica Patrick Makes History; McCain's Tough Stands; Football Labels and the Redskins; Iceland May Ban Internet Porn; Jordan vs. Everyone Else
Aired February 17, 2013 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you very much, Deb Feyerick. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Don Lemon. We're going to get you up to speed on the stories making headlines this hour.
And speaking of speed, history made today. Danica Patrick becomes the first woman ever, woman driver in the history of NASCAR to win a pole position and she did it at the sport's biggest race, the Daytona 500. Patrick posted a qualifying lap of just over 196 miles an hour. Almost 200 miles an hour. She will share the front row next Sunday with veteran driver Jeff Gordon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANICA PATRICK, DAYTONA 500 POLE WINNER: Ultimately at the end of the day, too, I mean, everything happens for a reason. And in fact I've thought about it in Indy 500 and I thought about how I was kind of the favorite in the pole going in. And I thought, you know what? Maybe I wasn't ready. Like maybe it would have just been hard on me. Maybe my life would have changed, been different because of that happening or whatever. And I just feel like, you know -- you know, I'm comfortable, I'm cool, I've been around for a long time now. And maybe now is the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: When they say it's your time, it's your time.
This will be Patrick's first full season in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and you're going to want to stick around when I talk to her live. We're going to talk to her live right here in the CNN NEWSROOM, in just a few minutes, about 6:15.
More serious news to tell you about now. Now, facing murder charges, South African Oscar Pistorius has dropped out of several races, including one set for April here in the United States. Although he is under contract to run, his management company says he dropped out to deal with the charges he now faces.
Pistorius is accused of shooting his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, on Valentine's Day.
Massive spending cuts are coming and you should get ready for them. That's what Republican Senator John Barrasso said today -- and I'm talking about those budget cuts that were narrowly avoided two months ago. Remember the fiscal cliff?
Well, the cuts will kick in automatically March 1st if nothing changes. Democrats don't want them. They favor raising taxes and other alternatives to across-the-board cuts. We've got another deadline count down and plenty more budget fighting on Capitol Hill has begun.
There was a huge rally on the National Mall in Washington today as thousands pleaded for more action on climate control. Among the demands, the protesters want President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline and to get the Environmental Protection Agency to set carbon standards for power plants. More from that rally ahead here on CNN.
A bigger than normal crowd packed the Vatican, the Vatican City today. It is the second to the last time Pope Benedict XVI will address crowds of Catholic faithful from that famous window overlooking St. Peter Square. About 100,000 people turned out to hear Benedict ask for prayers for the next pope. The 85-year-old pope shocked the world last week when he announced he is resigning at the end of the month.
We first told you about the story on CNN NEWSROOM last night. An Idaho man accused of slapping a crying toddler across the face while uttering racial slurs. Authorities say it happened in a Delta flight in Atlanta. Today, we're hearing from the little boy's parents for the first time.
More now from Dave Berggren. He's from our affiliate KARE in Minneapolis.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sing twinkle, twinkle.
DAVE BERGGREN, KARE REPORTER (voice-over): Jonah Bennett is a smart and smiley 19-month-old.
But it's what happened on a Delta flight that has Jonah's parents doing anything but smiling.
JESSICA BENNETT, MOTHER: He hit a child. And he said what he said. And that it's disgusting.
BERGGREN: Jessica Bennett and her son were flying to Atlanta and sat next to this man, 60-year-old Joe Hundley of Idaho.
BENNETT: He was being rude and belligerent, and just felt very uncomfortable.
BERGGREN: She said Hundley reeked of alcohol and continued to drink on board. But as the plane began to descend, Jonah got fussy, and the already uncomfortable flight got even worse.
BENNETT: I was having trouble comforting him and that's when the guy had made his comment to me. BERGGREN: As court documents state, this is when Hundley allegedly told Jessica to, quote, "Shut that N-word baby up."
But it didn't end there. Hundley used the racial slur a second time and then allegedly slapped Jonah, hitting him in the eye.
BENNETT: I could not believe that he would say something like that and to a baby or about a baby and then to hit him was just -- I felt like I was in another world. I was shaking.
BERGGREN: Jessica said other passengers eventually came to her aid and the two were given a new seat. But while Jonah is back to being a curious toddler, his parents call his actions heinous and hateful and want something to be done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the evidence is sufficient enough to support what we're saying and I think that we hope he's punished as much as he possibly can be.
BERGGREN: It's an experience the Bennetts never want to go through, again. But one this family will think about the next time they fly.
BENNETT: I think I'll just be replaying it the whole time. Very traumatic.
LEMON: Reporter Dave Berggren from our affiliate KARE in Minneapolis.
Hundley has been suspended from his job, but his attorney says he plans to plead not guilty to the federal assault charge.
We got this statement from his attorney and here's how it reads. It says, "Let's let the case develop and not rush to judgment. We can't make comments on the case at this time."
In Los Angeles, the manhunt for renegade ex-cop Christopher Dorner may be over, but the controversy over how it ended is really just beginning. A rally yesterday outside LAPD headquarters criticized police handling of the manhunt and its fiery conclusion nine days later at a mountain cabin.
Nick Valencia has been covering the story for us.
Nick, this pro-Dorner rally, how much -- how much of it is anti-LAPD?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's be clear about this. I've spoken to Dorner supporters and say, don't mistake our support for Dorner for our disdain for Los Angeles Police Department.
They were disgusted the way this manhunt was handled. They were disgusted by the fact that LAPD opened fire against two innocent civilians, two Hispanic women, that were delivering papers to a residence that was in the area receiving this e detailed security protection. So, people are very upset. And they're using this opportunity to leverage their beliefs that there still is rampant corruption within the Los Angeles Police Department. Of course, the LAPD says Dorner's actions are unfounded. They brought in a third party to look at this appeal that he was going through and to investigate his claims.
LEMON: Is the LAPD doing anything to try to clear the air here?
VALENCIA: Sure. They're trying -- you know, they brought in this third party investigator. They have -- they're talking about giving their million dollar reward.
VALENCIA: But they still haven't gone that far as to say who's going to get it.
So, there's still a lot of criticism as to how this was handled and, you know, they were expressing themselves through Dorner.
LEMON: It's interesting. And just by reporting on the people who are supporting, sometimes, people think that the newscasters are supporting. We're just reporting.
LEMON: It's unbelievable that there are so many people who support him, online, Facebook pages and you see protesters outside of the LAPD.
LEMON: When you were out there, did you see any of that? Did you see any supporters?
VALENCIA: Yes, I saw supporters. I talked to them. I was getting a taxi on the way home and one person I spoke to said, listen, I don't support the actions of Chris Dorner. What I do support though is he wants us to look into these corruption allegations and charges.
LEMON: All right. Nick Valencia, thank you. Good reporting on this.
VALENCIA: Thank you.
LEMON: We're moving on now. So if you're playing golf with the most powerful man on the planet, do you let him win? Tiger Woods hits the links with President Obama.
And we got a NASCAR first where a woman driver wins a pole position for next Sunday's Daytona 500. So, what's it like to make history? I'm going to ask her. Danica Patrick (INAUDIBLE), just ahead here on CNN.
LEMON: If you were going to play golf, you might as well play with the best, right? Well, the White House is confirming that president played 18 holes today with Tiger Woods. The president is at a Florida this weekend for a mini-vacation. His foursome also included the resort's owner, a man named Jim Crane, who also happens to be a major Democratic Party donor.
The skies have been busy during the president's Florida stay. Military fighters have intercepted three small planes so far this weekend that have crossed into the restricted air space near where the president is staying. Two Cessnas and small two-seater aircraft have all been forced to leave the area.
A huge rally at the National Mall in Washington today as thousands pleaded for more action on climate change.
CNN's Chris Lawrence is in the middle of it, all with the demands people were making -- Chris.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Don, it's been one of the coldest days of the year here in Washington, but that didn't stop tens of thousands of people from jamming the National Mall and then marching from here right past the White House.
Even though President Obama is away in Florida, the message that they wanted to send to him is clear. They want two things. They want to Environmental Protection Agency to establish stricter emission standards on existing power plants. Not just future plants that would go down the line.
They also want President Obama to kill the extension of the Keystone pipeline. That's the oil pipeline that's coming from Canada and would cut through the United States to bring oil all the way to the Gulf Coast. A lot of folks here are younger voters. Younger people who say even though the U.S. right now may be as focused on the debt ceiling and other issues, it's time to look further down the line.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm only 16 and some day, I hope to have my own kids and I think this is, I want them to live in a world that's you know, like environmentally safe and natural.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Keystone is a dirty and dangerous pipeline that's literally going to cut our country in half, carrying a very dangerous fuel, and it will cause runaway climate change.
LAWRENCE: On the flip side, a lot of folks say tighter emission standards have already cost some jobs at coal plants in places like West Virginia. Tightening them further is only going to squeeze that part of the economy even more and some of the higher prices will be past on to you and me as consumers.
They also argue that the Keystone pipeline will be safe with today's technology and will bring jobs to places like Nebraska and also help the U.S. become more energy independent -- Don.
(END VIDEOTAPE) LEMON: Chris, thank you very much.
She made history just a couple of hours ago. Danica Patrick became the first woman driver to win the pole position for the Daytona 500. In fact, for any NASCAR race. I'll talk with her live, next.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
LEMON: The images of that meteor crashing into Russia's Urals Region last Friday are chilling. The meteor blast had grown adults scrambling for cover and more than 1,000 people were hurt. Hundreds of school children were also hurt. Though the event only lasts about 32 seconds, it's having a lasting effect.
CNN's Phil Black reports from a Russian village on how its close encounter with the meteor has impacted local kids.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This small Siberian village is usually a quiet place, 1,000 people living just south of the city of Chelyabinsk.
But on Friday morning, they, like everyone in the region, were shocked by what they saw. An intense light followed by a trail of smoke across the sky.
Kindergarten worker Olga Makeyev (ph) says the 20 children who are in this room ran to the windows when they saw the light, but she felt something was wrong and moved them away. She said she was still facing the windows when the meteor's shockwave hit.
As the windows blew in, flying glass cut her face and hands. She said she didn't notice because she was worried about the children. Most were safe, but terrified. But one was bleeding heavily.
Three-year-old Sasha suffered deep cuts to her head and face. Her mother Marina Ivanova (ph) ran to the kindergarten after she heard the blast.
"I was shaking," she says. "I grabbed her and started to calm her down. A lot of kids were crying, too."
Cassina Zarkonov (ph) was also in the room that morning. She wasn't hurt physically by the blast, but her mother says she's traumatized. She's been too afraid to stand next to windows and she keeps asking if the glass is going to break again.
Katerina Galosa (ph) says she understands what the children of this village are feeling. She says the blast was so terrifying, it rekindled her own childhood memories from the Second World War. Most of the visible damage to the buildings and people at this region can be easily repaired, but the meteor's impact on some will take longer to heal. Phil Black, CNN, Chelyabinsk, Russia.
LEMON: So, that was a meteor? Did you see the green streak today? The one in Daytona Beach?
Well, it was none other than Danica Patrick. She's very popular today. There she is wrapping up an interview with someone else. And we are going to talk to her right after this break. Danica Patrick, the first woman ever to win pole position in the Daytona 500, coming up.
LEMON: All right. That green streak you're looking at -- there it is. Can we see the green streak out there?
It's going -- there it is. It's going 196 miles per hour behind the wheel is a NASCAR driver speeding into the history books. It's Danica Patrick, the fastest woman on four wheels -- is now the first woman ever to win pole position for the most important race in NASCAR. That is the Daytona 500.
She did it today, just a couple of hours ago, at the Daytona International Speedway. And if you need any convincing, this makes it official. NASCAR is definitely not the boys club anymore.
And look who's here. Live from Daytona is Danica Patrick. Your Daytona 500 pole position winner, winning her green.
Danica, congratulations. How do you feel?
PATRICK: I feel good. They've kept me pretty darn busy though after qualifying. So, you know, the sun is going down and the interviews keep coming up, but it's -- there's no better reason to be doing them.
LEMON: I can tell you -- of my all, mostly male members of my team here, are like, oh, my gosh, Danica Patrick, we got her, we got her. We go to her after break.
I've never seen them so excited about any interview that we've done before and we're all very excited for you.
I know that you feel good, but you really have made history. Do you understand that?
PATRICK: In a simple word, yes, I understand that. I think that understanding the scope of what that means and what that will end up meaning is -- or if any, is something that happens down the road. In the moment, it's about thinking about what I need to do for next Sunday and trying to make some more history.
LEMON: Tell us about the reaction from your fellow drivers, including your team owner, Tony Stewart. PATRICK: Tony came over when we had gotten pole, so qualifying was over with and he came over to say good job and, you know, for me, I just wanted to tell him thank you for giving me the chance and for giving me the crew and the car and the job at his team, to be able to go out there and do something like that. So, it means a lot and it goes a long way when someone like Tony Stewart believes in you.
LEMON: Yes. I met Tony Stewart a couple of years ago when I was doing an interview for Daytona 500 and he couldn't have been more gracious. A very gracious man.
Let's talk a little bit more about you, though.
Winning the pole is one thing. Now, you have to go out and race in 125-mile qualifying race and then a 500-mile main event on Sunday. How are you going to prepare for this, this week?
PATRICK: Well, I'm going to hope that I can have a little bit of time off between now and when we hit the track on Wednesday. But I'm racing in the nationwide race, which is I think going to be a really good help for the race on Sunday for the Daytona 500. So, I'll be racing on Saturday and Sunday.
But I mean, just getting out there in traffic and feeling what it's like around other cars and we're going to have to be smart about what we do out there on the track. I believe if we crash in practice or the duel, which is a race that we do on Thursday, we don't get to start in the front row.
So we're going to have to be a little bit smart, but it doesn't mean we can't get that chance to go out there and feel what it's like around other cars.
LEMON: All right. So, listen, don't be modest. You won this time. You won the pole position.
What are you doing this time that's different or better than you were doing before or better than the other drivers?
PATRICK: I don't -- I don't know how to answer that. I mean, I -- you know, I -- all I can do as a driver when I go out there and qualify at a place like Daytona is to be smooth, to not let the car bind up too much. Let it take its head. Let it be -- let it go where it wants to go a little bit, yet keeping minimum distance as little as possible.
So -- but other than that, I mean, it's very much about the crew. So I know you told me not be modest, but it is very much about the crew and the engine of the car. Those elements have to be in place for you to go out there and be able to have a chance at the pole.
LEMON: Yes, you were also modest when you answered the history question, but you said you do understand that you've made history today. It is ground-breaking. But do you understand, there are young women and little girls at home watching you and who, all of a sudden, today will say, you know what, I can do that. I can become a race car driver. I can be a Danica Patrick.
Well, little boys, my producer is saying little boys, but little boys have had role models in racing from the beginning. But you are role models for little girls.
Do you get that?
PATRICK: You know, I love that to go beyond racing in general -- I mean, just to kind of break gender barriers, I feel that one of the coolest things is to be able to think that parents and their kids are having that conversation at home about it and to -- you know, I've heard stories about a kid, boy or girl, saying, but, mommy, daddy, that's a girl that's out there racing and then they can have that conversation to say, you can do anything you want to do and gender doesn't matter. Your passion is what matters. And that's cool.
LEMON: All right. Danica Patrick, thank you. Sorry about the delay. We would think that you were on the other side of the Earth, but you're just down in Daytona.
Thank you. Congratulations. We're very happy for you. OK?
PATRICK: I know.
LEMON: All right. She was talking about the delay.
Let's move on.
A leaked White House immigration plan has some in Congress seeing red. One senator has even said this thing, quote, "is dead on arrival." What's got them all riled up? We'll tell you, next.
LEMON: Let's talk some politics, shall we, with CNN contributors L.Z. Granderson and Ana Navarro.
How I missed you guys. So good to see you.
L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hey, Don.
LEMON: L.Z. is a senior writer for ESPN. Ana is a Republican strategist.
You guys doing OK?
LEMON: Yes? OK.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: A little cold.
LEMON: Where are you? Are you in Florida?
NAVARRO: In Miami. But it's all of 55 degrees right now and we are freezing. GRANDERSON: Oh, cry me a river.
LEMON: It's 55. Break out your long johns and fur coats. Please, Ana.
All right. Let's talk about John McCain --
LEMON: John McCain has been in everything lately, from the Benghazi debate to the nomination of his old friend Chuck Hagel, perhaps now a former friend to be a defense secretary. He hit both topics hard this morning on "Meet the Press." Here he is referring to the cover-up over Benghazi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID GREGORY, MSNBC'S "MEET THE PRESS": You said there was a cover- up. A cover-up of what?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: A very dear man.
GREGORY: I just asked you, a cover-up of what?
MCCAIN: Of the information of concerning the deaths of four brave Americans. The information has not been forthcoming. You can obviously believe that it has. I know that it hasn't and I'll be glad to send you a list of the questions that have not been answered.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: L.Z., is he correct? Is there a White House cover-up when it comes to the 9/11 attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya?
GRANDERSON: Boy, he sure seems to think so. I don't know why he is so, you know, hell bent on trying to find more answers after we've gotten, I think, pretty much everyone who was directly involved with what happened in Benghazi already on the record. I really am just wondering if he's just doing this to try to shore up his crede as far as being the military's voice and wanting to make sure that the servicemen and women understand that he will fight for them every step of the way. But other than that, I don't know what other productive thing could come out of this conversation.
LEMON: And it does seem like John McCain has been on the mission lately. He's going after the president on Benghazi and others in the White House and then he's taking on his old friend Chuck Hagel in the confirmation hearing to be Defense secretary. What is McCain after here?
NAVARRO: Look, I think he's doing his job. You know, he understands that his job as a senator is not to rubber stamp nominations. It's to advise and consent and to scrutinize these nominees. If not now, when? And I think what he's doing on Benghazi, what he has done along with other senators like Kelly Ayotte, like Lindsey Graham, is very important.
Let's just think about this. OK? Were it not for the John McCain and Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte going after this, look, we would still be thinking that Benghazi was due to a video and that's not true. There's been -- because of their activity there has been a scathing report about the negligence and the, you know, breaches of security of the State Department. There have been recommendations made.
There may be American lives saved in the future because of this saga with John McCain right now, so I'm very proud of him for having done it. Would not have happened but it not for him and the others.
LEMON: Are we any closer to finding out exactly what happened then and correcting it or we just sort of -- still on the hunt to figure out who in the White House may have done what or who didn't speak with whom? Doesn't seem that we're any closer with --
NAVARRO: I think --
LEMON: We're going after details that are about other things rather than finding a solution to this issue.
NAVARRO: I think we're closer to finding out what happened. We are closer to finding out what happened today. We know more of what happened because there have been hearings. Because there has been a review and a report. Because there have been recommendations made. Because it has been retraced. Because it has been on -- in the media. If not, we would not have found out the truth that we do now.
There are still pieces missing. I still don't know -- I don't know if you do -- who is responsible for the inaccurate talking points. I still don't know who made the choice to send Ambassador Susan Rice out to the talk shows. I heard Hillary Clinton in the testimony she gave in front of the Senate say it wasn't her.
LEMON: But Ana -- Ana, I hear --
NAVARRO: And I never heard her say who it was.
LEMON: Go ahead, L.Z. Go ahead, L.Z.
GRANDERSON: Well, I was just going to say, I mean, I'm all for trying to get to the bottom of things, but I'm also about prioritizing things as well. We're still trying to figure out all the details behind September 11th, 2011. And that's been well over a decade. I don't think we're going to find out everything that went wrong with Benghazi over the next couple of weeks, and so what I would like to see is a more systemically way of handling this without using the press to get yourself more face time.
There are ways in which you continue having investigation, get your questions answered, without appearing on "Meet the Press" as if you're going to find out every minute detail within the next 24 hours. If we haven't figured out the first September 11th, I think it's going to be a while before we figure out the second September 11th attack.
LEMON: OK. I want to move on now and I want to talk about this immigration proposal that's supposedly going to come out next week.
Marco Rubio, Ana, someone who you advises, is blasting the White House, saying it's dead on arrival. Why is the White House playing a bad idea?
NAVARRO: I don't know. I think maybe because they want to show that they have their own bill. That they are doing something. They want some credit.
You know, look, my friend who is a domestic policy adviser of the White House, Cecilia Munoz, has told me this was not a deliberate White House leak. I believe Cecilia. That being said, something let the door open and the cat got out and it is not helpful.
I think the reason you've seen a strong reaction from Republicans and also Democrats who formed part of that bipartisan agreement is because they understand the toxicity level of the White House right now.
Look, some -- you know, we'd all like things to be a certain way, but they are what they are and that's the reality. The political reality, we are working with it, and the only way we will have immigration done is if that bipartisan agreement comes from Congress to Congress.
LEMON: L.Z., I'll give you the final word, but I'm out of time here and we want to give Ana a little time to lean over and grab her hot chocolate since it's so cold there. And take a sip --
But I'll give you the final word if you can do it quick.
GRANDERSON: Sure. You know, I don't really see how -- what the White House leaked was very much different than what Rubio and Senator McCain were trying to pitch just a few weeks ago. Outside of having a clear around in terms of making sure we don't get more immigrants crossing over into the border, I really see the plans as very much alike, and so this talk Rubio saying it's dead on arrival, I mean, he's still got to convince his own party to get behind the bill that he's trying to propose as well.
LEMON: OK. All right. You guys have taken away time from our next segment so don't go anywhere, make sure you still around, because coming back after the break, we're going to talk about your other passion, sports, a debate about whether the Washington Redskins should change their name and front and center again. That topic next. Some believe the name is offensive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the Sentinel space telescope.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, that's it? That's basically the size of it there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. The real one is about the size of, say, a delivery truck. So it's about 23, 24 feet tall. And so about 2,600 pounds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In over six and a half year period, it is going to scan earth's orbit multiple times and map all the asteroids across the earth's orbit, because those are the asteroids that could hit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it's going to track a half a million asteroids? So each month, it's going to discover about 10,000 asteroids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each month 10,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each month. Yes. So which is more than all other telescopes throughout history have combined to discover. So I'll do that every month.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The general manager of Washington NFL's franchise says his team will not change its nickname even though a recent symposium at the Smithsonian Institution has revived a debate over the use of term Redskins. Bruce Allen said Thursday that he sees no reason to make a change.
The "Washington Post" and radio station 106.7 quote Allen by saying this. "We're not a new franchise. We're 81 years old. There's nothing we feel is offensive and we're proud of our history."
"Proud of our history." Remember those words.
Let's bring in now two of our favorite writers on sports and culture. Of course CNN contributor L.Z. Granderson is back with us for another round as we said before the break. And CNN.com sports contributor Terence Moore is right here in Atlanta.
So, L.Z., you just posted a column at ESPN.com where you are a senior writer there. You agree that maybe the Redskins should be ashamed of their past. And this is what you write. You said, "It may not be illegal to use a dehumanizing slur like Redskins, which is why attempts to force a name change through the legal system may all -- have always fallen short, but it is immoral to continue to brand a team with this racially insensitive relic."
So, L.Z., why do you say the Redskins franchise in particular is wrong to use its nickname?
GRANDERSON: You know, I really targeted that column because of the back-pedaling done by the mayor, Vincent Gray. He's the one that initially talked about it in January that he would like to meet with the team and talk about possibly changing the name because it was insensitive, and then come February, he started back-pedaling. That's what really sparked me to want to write this piece because he was initially writing in January. Having that conversation is the right thing to do and to bow down because constituents or fans of the football team are upset or bothered by this is not what we want our elected officials to do.
We want them to stand up and do the right thing, and so I took time to write about the history of that franchise and how a racist owner brought them to Washington because I wanted to point out exactly what that history was and how wrong it was for the mayor to back down because fans who are used to the name didn't want to give it up.
LEMON: OK. Let's turn to Terence now.
Terence, should the Washington Redskins change their nickname? I understand that you said it gets a little complicated for you --
TERENCE MOORE, CNN.COM SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: It does.
LEMON: -- when you're looking back at other teams besides Washington.
MOORE: Yes. Well, I mean, first, yes, they should change it. OK. And they should have changed it about 80 years ago because at the time, they had -- they fired supposedly their Native American coach. I say supposed because some controversy about whether you're Native American. And they claimed -- they were in Boston at the time. They claimed they switched from Braves to Redskins in honor of him. You know, fancy that.
LEMON: But this has been 81 years. It's a tradition.
MOORE: Well, but see, well, where it gets complicated, Don. I graduated from my Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, in the late 1970s. OK? It's called Miami because it's located in Southern Ohio named after a Miami Indian tribe that was there at the time, since moved to Oklahoma.
The nickname of this sports teams back then were the Redskins when I was in school, but the university had enough sense in the late 1990s to switch from Redskins to Redhawks. And Miami, Ohio, which has more of a legitimate case if there's a legitimate case, to switch from Redskins to Redhawk certainly the Washington Redskins should do the right thing and switch from Redskins.
LEMON: L.Z., what -- what do you say is Redskins OK with you in a certain context or is the word just offensive no matter how it's used?
GRANDERSON: I mean, I equate it to like the N word. Right? I mean, I'm sure there are certain (INAUDIBLE) people who are native American who do not have a problem with it. You have people who do have a problem with it. I always think the same way when it comes to African-Americans. There are people who use the N word and don't have a problem with it and people who obviously do.
But you look at the history of the words and decided we do not think the N word is acceptable, but simply because of the fact that the attempted genocide of Native Americans have made it very difficult for that collective voice to be heard and we don't have enough stand-up politicians -- again, going back to Mayor Gray -- who's willing to stand and put their feet in the fire and get up in this fight and say this is wrong. And we need to change it. Whether a million Native Americans or not.
And so, you know, I am not comfortable using that word. I try to avoid using it as much possible and I think that is the right thing to do. Especially -- Don, this was important. Especially when you look back at something like the Westerns, and how that word was used in old TV Westerns that we all know are racially insensitive. No one used that word in pop culture as a term of endearment.
LEMON: Do you think people -- Terence, do you think people get the meaning of that word? This is our team, it's just a -- it's just a sports team and the team, the camaraderie and all of that can remain the same even if your team name changes.
MOORE: Yes, and see, and this is why it's not going to change. And I'm going to tell you the big reason --
LEMON: It's not going to change.
MOORE: It's not going to change. I'm going to tell you the big reason why. OK? Ever since the Redskins became relevant again in the early 1970s under George Allen, just about every politician in Washington is a Redskin fan. Therefore, if you are part of the ownership or the management of the Redskins franchise, you feel this political cover to take this hard line stance is never going to change unless the Redskins become bad for a long period of time.
MOORE: And it's not going to happen anytime soon with RG3.
LEMON: L.Z., do you think it will change?
GRANDERSON: Well, you know, it all depends. You know, back in '61, the former owner was a racist and he refused to play or even sign black players. And he was actually pressured by the commissioner as well as the federal government to change that because he had to abide by federal law when they moved the Redskins on to a land that was controlled by the feds.
Now there's conversations again about whether or not the Redskins is going to move back into land that's controlled by the federal government. If that is the case, then certainly the way that Kennedy used his administration to kind of push Marshall -- to open up the gates in terms of desegregating his team, certainly there could be some conversation that the Obama administration could have to push some pressure on him to be more racially sensitive.
So I'm not quite sure yet if it's all said and done in terms of whether or not this name is going to be changed. There's still a lot more conversations that need to happen. LEMON: All right. L.Z., thank you very much. Terence, thank you. I want you to stick around because Terence is going to come back in just a few minutes.
Meantime, next, one country wants to get rid of online pornography and something borrowed, something blue, saying I do with 12,000 of your closest friends.
LEMON: Saying "I do" in a big way in South Korea. Thousands took the plunge during a mass wedding held today by the Unification Church. A stadium was transformed into a massive chapel for about 3500 couples. Another 1200 couples participated online.
Many of the couples met for the first time just days before the ceremony. This was the first event held by the Unification Church since the death of its founder.
Azadeh Ansari is here.
Why do people get married?
AZADEH ANSARI, CNN INTERNATIONAL DESK EDITOR: Don.
Because they can. So they do.
LEMON: That's a third date. They just met before the wedding. That's a little weird. OK. Let's talk about why Azadeh is here.
Iceland may try to ban -- this after marriage. Iceland may try to ban Internet pornography. Good luck with that. Seriously, Iceland already banned strip clubs calling them demeaning to women.
CNN International's Azadeh Ansari is tracking the story for us.
So, porn flourished in the U.S. largely because it's protected under free speech laws. Why does Iceland want to become the first Western democracy to block pornography online?
ANSARI: So they have more people get married, Don.
No, but seriously.
LEMON: Sorry. Go ahead.
ANSARI: We're talking about a country here that's roughly the size of St. Louis, Missouri. So it's a very small country and it's a great model country. But they're known to be very progressive and liberal but when it comes to pornography, Don, they're putting their foot down and they're creating a lot of waves in this process. The reason for this is the fact that the Interior minister has come out and said look, this is not -- you know, his adviser has come out and spoke on his behalf and he said look, this is not an anti-sex bill or ban per se. This is actually an anti-violence ban. And in doing this they hope -- follow me here.
They're hoping that in this process it actually prevents -- you know, they're saying that pornography is a threat to children and women and relationships. So this is why they're doing it. And of course, there's always the people who are going to be on the other side and they're going to say you know what, this is an infringement on our freedom of rights. This is -- this is not going to pass.
But as it stands right now it's a draft legislation that's being talked about and in Iceland they put together this entire task force which is responsible for talking to educators and health officials to really look at the correlation between watching porn and what this means in terms of how much violence is a result of that.
ANSARI: So does that answer your question, Don?
LEMON: Yes, it does.
LEMON: You have researched some pretty unusual laws in other countries. Tell us what's the -- where does this one fall and what's the strangest law that you have found.
ANSARI: Sure. Well, we've heard about the smoking ban which has created ripple around the world.
ANSARI: And, you know, one country has a smoking ban and another has. In New York we have the soda ban which, you know, we'll see if that goes through. But I do want to point out some of the ones that we're, you know, heard about but not extensively. In Singapore there's a ban on the sale and import of chewing gum and that started in 1992, and in addition to that there's -- that ban has kind of been lifted since 2004.
ANSARI: But in Saudi Arabia women, they can't drive, but that's not necessarily an illegal thing. You know, they can't -- it's more of a fatwa which was passed in the '90s. In Iran, for example, you can't find Barbie in a store. You can't -- they can't sell Barbie. Why? Because it's looked at as a Western thing.
ANSARI: And much like you can't find DVDs of Western movies or some Western clothes -- I mean, on the black market you can.
ANSARI: But I'm saying, you know, out there. And in Swaziland women can't wear pants or miniskirts.
LEMON: And actually women driving, we just had Danica Patrick today.
LEMON: Right? So, we would have no Danica Patricks if we had that everywhere.
ANSARI: Sure. That's true.
LEMON: Thank you.
ANSARI: You're very welcome, Don.
LEMON: Thank you very much. Appreciate it, Azadeh.
Who is the greatest basketball player of all time? A lot of people say Michael Jordan who's turning 50 today. But what about Kobe? What about LeBron? We're going to talk about it next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL JORDAN, FORMER NBA STAR: I'd do anything to win. Limits, like fears, are often --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The one and only Michael Jordan turns 50 years old today. Just in time for the NBA All-Star Game and a new round of popular sports debate -- of a popular sports debate. Who is the greatest basketball player ever? Lots of people say Jordan. End of discussion. Jordan is it.
But do any of today's star measure up? What about Kobe Bryant, maybe LeBron James? I don't know. What does Michael say?
Here is what he told NBA TV. He said, "If I had to pick between the two, Kobe and LeBron, that would be a tough choice. But five titles beats one every time and I look at the -- look at it and not that he -- LeBron -- won't get five, he may get more than that, but five is bigger than one."
Terence Moore is back, sports contributor at CNN.com.
Is M.J. dissing LeBron James, Terence, or does he have a point here?
MOORE: Or M.J. is just telling the truth. You know, Kobe right now --
LEMON: Thank you. Can you say that again?
MOORE: Well --
LEMON: The truth is the truth. It doesn't mean you're always hating because you're telling the truth.
MOORE: That's --
LEMON: Five beats one.
MOORE: And somewhere I read that the truth shall set you free, OK?
LEMON: Amen, brother.
MOORE: Well, but here's the thing, Don. This is a case of selective hearing, OK?
MOORE: And LeBron is listening like a jilted lover. OK? Listen to what Michael said. Michael essentially said that both of these guys are great. Tiebreaker is world championships. What LeBron heard was Michael just said, well, I'm the worst superstar on the face of the earth. He never said that.
LEMON: No. And he said he may, he said he may, didn't I read in there?
LEMON: He said he may at one point.
LEMON: But not yet.
MOORE: And so you get four world championships to tie Kobe and Kobe could have seven or eight by then.
LEMON: OK. Here is LeBron's side of the argument. He is talking with our Rachel Nichols.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: We talk about the all-time great of Bill Russell, 11 rings, which is five more than Mike won, but if we had a draft today, would you take Russell over Jordan? I don't think so. So it all depends how you categorize talent and the greats.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Does he have a point that a former Jordan teammate who rode the bench has a lot of rings but no one thinks he's a great player?
MOORE: Well, I mean, that's LeBron being absolutely ridiculous. I mean, he just clearly -- (CROSSTALK)
LEMON: I didn't understand that. I didn't get his point. Yes.
MOORE: It's stupid. But here's the thing. The big picture is at the beginning of that with that like Mike thing. Here it is, Michael Jordan at 50 years of age, OK, and that "I want to be like Mike" Gatorade commercial was back in the early 1990s and people still want to be like Mike -- including LeBron James and everybody on the playgrounds or what have you. And what's happening right now, you've got a guy like LeBron who was born in December of 1984.
By that time Michael had already won a national championship at North Carolina. He'd already won a gold medal in the Olympics for Team USA. But here it is years later and LeBron is still about to cry because he wants --
LEMON: How old is LeBron? Like 20 something?
MOORE: He's 28.
LEMON: Well, that's the thing.
MOORE: He wants the approval of those guys.
LEMON: Yes, but come on. When you're in your 20s you think you know everything. When I was in my 20s I thought I knew everything and then I -- I don't know --
I didn't know anything. I thought I knew everything and you know nothing, nothing. And that's what LeBron is doing.
MOORE: Well, it's all about rings, though.
MOORE: It always comes down to that in professional sports.
LEMON: Talk to me when he turns 35 or 40.
MOORE: And talk to me when you win more world championships.
LEMON: And he's a kid.
MOORE: Which is the bottom line.
Yes, the next hour of the CNN NEWSROOM begins right now.