Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Navy SEAL Dies During Parachute Training Exercise; North Korea Targeting U.S., South Korea for Attack; Palin Rails Against Political Consultants
Aired March 29, 2013 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: OUTFRONT next, North Korea targets America. The four U.S. cities in the crosshairs.
Plus, Sarah Palin has railed against the use of political consultants but where has she been spending her money? You guessed it.
And it's like something out of a movie here, a man who represented Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic is not who anyone thought.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
I'm Brooke Baldwin in for Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, we want to start with breaking news here.
A source confirms to CNN that the Navy seal who died today in Arizona during a parachute training exercise was a member of the elite seal team six. This, of course, the very same unit that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan back in may of 2011. We should also tell you a second seal was injured in that same accident. He remains in stable condition tonight.
We want to take you straight to the Pentagon to our correspondent there Chris Lawrence.
And Chris, what can you tell us about what they were doing about the seal and the accident?
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, a Navy official just told me that the SEAL was killed in a free fall parachute accident. So, unlike some of the films or movies that you've seen where the military people are hooked up to a line inside the plane, this type of training involves them actually jumping out of the plane, falling for some time and then pulling the rip cord to release the canopy.
We are told that's the type of training they were doing. It's something that all SEALs are proficient in, something that they use for hostage rescue and anti-terrorist operations. We are also told the second SEAL has been taken to a hospital and that SEAL is in stable condition. We know that SEAL who died was a member of that elite SEAL team six. We don't know if he was actually on the mission in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.
BALDWIN: Of course, our thoughts tonight with his loved ones and family back home.
Chris Lawrence, since I have you, I also wanted to get your reporting on our other top story, talking about North Korea today. New details tonight on North Korea's prepared strike plan for the United States. Those details are in a photo released by North Korea.
So, look at this with me. Here is the photo. Here is the young leader. So behind Kim Jong-Un, you see that chart to the left? This is chart marked U.S. mainland strike plan. There are four missile trajectories, Hawaii, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and a fourth city that some say appears to be Austin, Texas.
Chris Lawrence, we don't believe North Korea has rockets that can actually reach all the way to the U.S. mainland. So, this is likely wishful thinking on their part. What is the real danger here?
LAWRENCE: Yes. Brooke, U.S. officials are worried right now about Austin. But they are worried about the tens of thousands of American troops who are stationed in bases in Guam, in Japan, in South Korea. Those locations are very much within reach of some of that North Korean artillery and rockets.
They are also worried about this young, inexperienced leader, Kim Yong-Un. They are worried as this rhetoric continues to heat up and continues to heat up go back and forth that his desire to prove to his own people that he is a strong leader may cause a rash action. Something like shelling some of the border islands like North Korea did a few years ago. That could spark a low-level conflict that if no one pulls back from could escalate and escalate and that's where the real danger is here.
BALDWIN: Chris Lawrence, thank you.
I want to continue to cover this issue because OUTFRONT tonight, the Reverend, Franklin Graham, the president and CEO of Samaritan Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic organization.
Reverend Graham has visited North Korea four times, most recently in 2011 when he met with some of the country's top officials. We should tell you his family's relationship with North Korea spans decades. His mother, Ruth, attended high school in the 1930s in what is now North Korea. His father, the Reverend Billy Graham became the first foreign religious leader to preach in Pyongyang back in 1992. Billy Graham also met with North Korea's leader at the time, Kim Il- Sung, the current leader's grandfather.
So Reverend Graham, welcome tonight.
As we mentioned, you've been following North Korea for quite a while. You just heard Chris Lawrence's reporting. Just how concerned are you?
FRANKLIN GRAHAM, PRESIDENT, CEO, SAMARITAN'S PURSE: This is, Brooke, very dangerous. Had is the most dangerous real estate in the world. I'm 60 years old. I was born at the height of the Korean War. And for my entire life, we have had this conflict before us. And nothing has been done. We still have troops. There is still the barbed wire. And we need to find a way to resolve this conflict.
I believe in dialogue. I believe in talking. It doesn't mean you have to agree. But, at least we ought to be talking. And right now, there is this kind of test for tat mentality. It's a kind of a schoolyard type policy that we have. They do something and we do something back.
Last year we just about had a great relationship started when they fired a missile. Then we broke off some aid that we promised. The next thing we know, they detonate a nuclear bomb and it's just one thing after another. And it has gotten very dangerous.
BALDWIN: And here you have this young leader, we see pictures of him at the table here with the chart and plans ratcheted up. I want to read to you something that was informed policy magazine, sir. North Korean analyst, Victor Chan, David Khang, write this about why the new regime may be different.
Quote "for half a century, neither side, north and South Korea believe that the benefits of starting a major war outweigh the costs. The worry is that new North Korean leader may not hold to the scene due to logic and inexperience.
With nukes on hand and I know some wonder whether or not this lead certificate one with the finger on the button. But, how concerned are you given his youth and inexperience and perhaps as Chris Lawrence is saying, perhaps his desire to prove that he can provoke?
GRAHAM: This is a real possibility. And I don't know why our government isn't listening to what Dennis Rodman said. I'm not a fan of Dennis --
BALDWIN: You are saying our government should be listening to Dennis Rodman, sir?
GRAHAM: I'm saying we ought to be making that phone call. Dennis Rodman came back and said that Kim-Jong-Un said he wanted the president to call him. What is wrong with a phone call? Brooke, listen --
BALDWIN: You think it's that easy?
GRAHAM: Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia said we have gotten ourselves into a vicious circle. And he cautioned us. And everyone involved to back down. This is extremely dangerous. I would just recommend getting into -- just making a phone call. You know, hey, let's have lunch. And let's begin a dialogue.
But if we don't, listen, someone could shoot a gun by accident across that DMZ. And then a war could start. And you could have thousands of people who could lose their lives in just hours. This is dangerous. And I would just recommend that this is Good Friday. And I would recommend for Christians, if Christians are watching, pray for our president that God will give him wisdom. Because I believe this could be the greatest crisis that he may face in his presidency.
BALDWIN: I have to ask you though, what kind of benefit the administration would have in picking up the phone and calling Dennis Rodman. What would we gain from that?
GRAHAM: No, what I'm saying is you pick up the phone and you call and you begin a dialogue and you talk.
BALDWIN: Between the president and the leader?
GRAHAM: Yes, I believe our president, just pick up the phone and call Kim-Jong-Un and see where it goes from there. And you know, come on over and let's shoot some hoops. Try to find something to talk to these people about and back this thing down. If you don't ratchet it down, I'm just afraid of what could happen.
BALDWIN: I do know that President Obama is a hoops fan. Not sure they will be shooting hoops on that first visit. But I see where you're going.
Reverend Franklin Graham, thank you so much. Happy Easter weekend to you, sir.
Still to come tonight, Sarah Palin has repeatedly criticized others for using paid political consultants. So we looked into her finances. We will tell you exactly what we found.
Plus, we heard about the story out of Oklahoma, a dentist ignores health and safety standards. His patients pay the price. How he may have exposed 7,000 people to have hepatitis and possibly also HIV.
And the last days of Marilyn Monroe, a private letter she sent to a friend available for the first time.
BALDWIN: Our second story OUTFRONT tonight, pot meet kettle. Sarah Palin released a 2:17 ad this week, an ad for herself and she prominently featured a line you may remember from the huge speech not too long ago a CPAC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That was the time to turn over consulting.
And the focus groups home and toss the political scripts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Off the top there you heard it, furlough the consultants. The same consultants she's been paying a heck of a lot of money.
CNN contributor John Avlon did a little digging and found that her political action committee, SarahPAC spent $5.1 million in the last election cycle. More than $4.8 million of that $5.1 went to, wait for it, consultants.
OUTFRONT tonight, our CNN contributors Reihan Salam and Alice Stewart, former communications advisor to Rick Santorum, Michel Bachmann and Mike Huckabee.
Welcome to both of you tonight.
Reihan, let me begin with you here. Let me begin with you because I want to go to Palin's chief PAC consultant, a man by the name of Tim Crawford, pocketed more than $321,000 in this election cycle in direct payments alone. I mean, just credibility check here, Reihan. How much does she have?
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think that she's not the ideal messenger given how much she spend and what have you. But, I think there is a real problem with a consultant class. When you look at what happened during the Romney campaign, for example, you have a lot of questions about the number of senior officials in the Romney campaign who are actually contracting with companies that they themselves owned. That is when the Romney campaign was contracting with these firms, you know, these guys were benefiting as individuals.
And I think that, you know, when you look at this, you know, more broadly, there is a question whether there should be more scrutiny for this consultant class.
So, I think, again, Sarah Palin isn't the ideal person to be making this case for all kinds of reasons. But I think she's raising a legitimate issue.
BALDWIN: So, let's say if we don't look at the messenger just for a half second, do you think Reihan has a point that, you know, there should be increased scrutiny when you look at the folks?
ALICE STEWART, FORMER SPOKESPERSON, SANTORUM 2012 CAMPAIGN: Well, he has a point in that one of the problems is when you have consultants making money in addition to the campaign and that's what we had in this last cycle and into the point with her which what she's not looking at is getting rid of the consultants she has. Because if you look at the consultants, she has and their track record, granted, I don't work for Sarah Palin, but when people give to a political action committee, they want to help elect candidates who support their views and values. And if you look at her track record with her PAC, we had Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Deb Fischer, Nikki Haley. These people went on to win. So that's a pretty good return on your investment.
BALDWIN: What about this though, Alice --
STEWART: So, we have, on the Romney campaign, they didn't win.
BALDWIN: What about this? Because, you know, we talk about Sarah Palin's consultants. But, there is this Palin paradox. This is how John Avlon points it on "the Daily Beast." Let me read this.
Sarah Palin wants to be a defender of the middle class while chartering $27,000 private plane flights and burning through enough cash on consultants to feed a small village for a year or two. As much as advancing a political cause, SarahPAC seems to be a lifestyle play, propping up an expensive ideological entourage."
How can she have it both ways, guys?
STEWART: Well, the key is, like I said, when you're contributing to a political action committee, you're hoping that your money goes to support candidates who represent your views and values. And the big picture here is Reihan touches on his book, if we rebuild the Republican Party, we need to appeal to the working class conservatives and voters. We need to appeal to the social conservatives. We need to appeal to the fiscal conservatives. And that's when people get to PACs, they're hoping to bring those people in. And if we can't learn anything else this past election, we have to appeal to the working class Americans, working class conservatives in this country and that's what people are doing when they give to PACs. They are hoping the values are represented and candidates that represent those values get elected.
SALAM: Well, I think the push back against Sarah Palin, however is that, you know, consider one of the governors you worked for early on, Mike Huckabee. Here's a guy who is governor of Arkansas for ten years and who had a lot of very concrete political achievements and who really did make strenuous efforts on behalf of working families in Arkansas.
Whereas Sarah Palin, one of the big disappointments was that, you know, I was one of the many people who before she was chosen as John McCain's running mate, was really a champion of Sarah Palin who really saw her as very promising political figure.
But then, after the 2008 election, she resigned, very abruptly from the governor's office and then went in a very different direction. And I think that's one reason why a lot of folks think she is absolutely not the ideal messenger for creating a more working class friendly Republican Party.
BALDWIN: When we talk about the messenger though, forgive me for interrupting here, you know, you have to look at the Republican Party in general. We hear a lot recently especially, as Alice points out, you know, we look at the election, lost a lot of seats in the house and Senate. Obviously, didn't get the White House, rebranding. There was the Republican Party autopsy not too long ago that came out. And part of the crux of that was the fact that Republicans really need to work together.
But Palin, I want to play one more clip here. This is when she seems to be working against some within her own party. Roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALIN: When somebody's going to hold Republicans in Congress accountable, it's going to be Sarah Palin. Talk about rebranding the GOP instead of restoring the trust of the American people.
The next election is 20 months away. The last thing we need is Washington, D.C. vetting our candidates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Alice, you get the final word here. I mean, what do you make of this? She is sort of publicly trashing the party. The point is, it should be this whole coming together, yes?
STEWART: Well, that's the whole point. And I was at CPAC when she spoke and she certainly energized the conservatives there. And that's the message here. We learned a lot from this past election and what she is doing is positioning herself smartly enough to help be someone that brings people together in the midterm elections and maybe for 2016.
But the key is for us to learn from our mistakes, energize, galvanize the energy that she creates and work together as a party. And bring together the social conservatives and the ones that didn't do so well in the past election. We need to work hard together and do well in the midterms and in 2016.
BALDWIN: As she points out, here we go. Twenty months away from that. Alice Stewart and Reihan Salam, thank you both tonight. Appreciate it.
Still to come, Jim Carey responds to his critics, says the FOX Network slandered him.
And it's like something out of a movie. A man who helped melt the legal defense for Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic was never who he said he was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a dishonest individual who's been very cunning, very clever and incredibly devious individual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Our third story OUTFRONT tonight, duped. He calls himself the devil's advocate, the lawyer who took on notorious clients that no one else wanted, i.e., Saddam Hussein. But, it turns out that Giovanni Di Stefano wasn't an attorney at all. And tonight he's in prison for duping his clients and the world.
Atika Shubert is OUTFRONT with the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you a real life pilot?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sure am, little lady. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been a while since I've done this. Which one is the jump suit?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just like Leonardo DiCaprio's character in "catch me if you can," he was a world class con artist. But he has a rolodex that read like a who's who of the world's biggest villains, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic and now it turns out, he was fooling them all and making millions from his lies.
Di Stefano worked as an attorney taking on notorious and unwinnable cases. Starting in 2005, he defended Saddam Hussein.
GIOVANNI DI STEFANO, BRITISH-ITALIAN FRAUDSTER: Why not bring charges? The whole world is now beginning to have its doubts. Not only on the legality of the war, but if the war was so legal, why not challenge this man? Where are the charges?
SHUBERT: He also worked with the legal team defending late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and bragged about his meetings with Osama bin Laden end Zimbabwe and leader, Robert Mugabe, meetings in which he would give legal advice.
There was just one problem. Giovanni Di Stefano had no legal qualifications. And he was not registered to work as an attorney either in Italy where he was born or right here in Britain where he grew up.
JERRY WALTER, CITY OF LONDON POLICE: He is a dishonest individual. He's been very cunning, very clever and incredibly devious individual.
SHUBERT: But it is not just dictators he was drawn to. He defended Harold Shipman, a British doctor who killed hundreds of his own patients.
DI STEFANO: Dr. Shipman had professed his innocence from day one. Di Stefano has never, ever accepted his guilt, not just the question of psychologically accepted, he never accepted that he murdered anybody.
SHUBERT: And Patricia Walsh-Smith, she was conned out of 5,000 pounds about, $7500 when Di Stefano told her she could get a better divorce settlement.
PATRICIA WALSH-SMITH, CONNED BY Di STEFANO: He knew that I was drowning and he pushes me right under. And he said why don't you commit suicide and leave a note saying my life has been a comedy of errors and he said that four times.
SHUBERT: The judge called him a man of breath taking cynicism. But it's not just his victims left embarrassed by Giovanni Stefano, it's the entire legal system as well.
For OUTFRONT, Atika Shubert, London.
BALDWIN: Still to come, as many as 7,000 Americans may have been exposed to have hepatitis and HIV and authorities say one dentist is responsible.
Plus, rumors have been swirling here that an NFL player is about to come out, say he's gay. We will show you an exclusive interview with a former player who is out now.
And, a dramatic rescue, 200 people saved after a giant ice floe breaks free from the shore. That video OUTFRONT.
BALDWIN: Welcome back to second half of OUTFRONT. I'm Brooke Baldwin, in for Erin tonight.
We start the second half of the show with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting from the front lines.
So, for the first time here, Facebook tracked attitudes about an issue taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court, talking about same sex marriage. This week, Facebook examined which users changed their profile pictures to one of these equal signs.
Have you noticed this? This is by the Human Rights Campaign. It's initiative started by them just to show support for marriage equality. I bet you noticed it. And the site deduced 120 percent week over week increase in users who changed their profile picture was linked to that campaign. They also found the largest increase came from the Ann Arbor, Michigan, area.
On a programming note, set your DVRs, because Gloria Borger's documentary air this is weekend. We're calling it "The Marriage Warriors," a behind-the-scenes look at the same sex marriage case before the Supreme Court. It airs Saturday night, 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time, only here on CNN.
And some video you have to see. More than 220 people have been rescued off the Latvian coast, after large sections of ice just broke away from the shore. A hundred eighty-one people on one chunk of this ice floe. You see the boats rushing in, they had to be rescued. Forty-two stranded on another section had to be taken away by helicopter. Some were fishing, others out and about, simply enjoying a walk on a sunny day.
CNN meteorologist Mari Ramos actually talked to a local who said there is so much ice, it's tough to tell where the shore ends and the sea ice begins.
The feud between Jim Carrey and FOX News, that's reached a boiling point. The two have been at it ever since Carrey released his Funny or Die video with a parody of a late Charlton Heston.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM CARREY, ACTOR (singing): Charlton Heston movies are no longer in demand, he's a mortal man lay forever in the sand, the angels wouldn't take him to heaven like he planned, because they couldn't pry that gun from his cold dead hand --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: So, that's part of the video. FOX News reported on said parody, kicking off the segment by saying Jim Carrey getting dumber and dumber. Then, Greg Gutfeld said this about Jim Carrey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS: He is such a pathetic, sad little freak. He's a gibbering mess. He's a modern bigot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Today, Jim Carrey responded, in statement, accusing the network of slander for, quote, "such irresponsible buffoonery," imagine we haven't heard the last from either side.
And it has been 603 days since the U.S. lost its top credit rating. What are we doing to get it back? Markets are closed for Good Friday today, with practical consumer news for you.
A new study shows the best time to book a flight is 49 days before departure, 49. Beware of buying too early. Apparently, it could be as expensive as those last-minute fares.
Fourth story OUTFRONT tonight, exposed. Officials say the Oklahoma dentist who may have put 7,000 patients at risk of contracting hepatitis and HIV could now face criminal charges. Investigators say Dr. Scott Harrington allowed his assistants to do these procedures only a dentist should be doing, including sedating the patients. They say there were multiple sterilization problems, that there were no logs of inventory of what was in the office's drug cabinet. They actually found one drug that expired two decades ago.
I know, you read through this complaint as I have today, it's unreal. There were warning signs and our Ed Lavandera talked to a teenager who had a disturbing experience with his dentist.
TEENAGE PATIENT: They told me to shut up and just pressure on the gauze.
ED LAVANDERA (voice-over): This is the silhouette of a 16-year- old boy and a patient of Dr. Scott Harrington. He and his mother have asked us to hide their identities so they can share the story of a surgery gone terribly wrong. They're living with the fear this young man might have been infected with HIV or hepatitis after one visit to see Dr. Harrington.
(on camera): When you heard the allegations yesterday that were made against this dentist, what went through your mind?
PATIENT'S MOTHER: How do I tell him? I had to take you to be tested because you might have caught this from a dentist. I'm scared. I am scared. I've been up all night last night.
Now, we just have to sit and wait. And that part is going to be the hardest part is the waiting.
LAVANDERA: A year ago, this teenage patient says he went to Dr. Harrington's office to have three molars removed. What happened next is an excruciating ordeal.
TEENAGE PATIENT: I was just like bleeding, like profusely. It wouldn't stop. It was gushing. And it was just pouring out of my mouth.
LAVANDERA: This is all to pull out three wisdom teeth?
TEENAGE PATIENT: Yes. I woke up in the middle of it and freaked out, and then dazed back off. When I got back up I was tied to the floor and they said I was trying to -- I was combative.
LAVANDERA: As you're sitting there gushing blood, you're in pain.
TEENAGE PATIENT: Yes.
LAVANDERA: What are they telling you?
TEENAGE PATIENT: They told me to shut up and just pressure on the gauze. That's exactly what she said.
LAVANDERA: Shut up?
TEENAGE PATIENT: Shut up. And I was like OK. And then I just shut up.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Oklahoma health officials say Harrington's oral surgery practice was a sickening sight inside, where investigators found unsanitary dental tools and a shocking way of doing business, including unlicensed assistants administering medications. We repeatedly asked Harrington's attorney for comment. Our calls and messages have not been returned.
Did you get the sense that the people who were treating you knew what they were doing?
TEENAGE PATIENT: No. I felt like after I got out of there and, you know, went through all I went through, I felt like they didn't know. I'm not sure what they were doing at all.
LAVANDERA: In the coming days, this young man will have blood tests taken to figure out if he's been infected with HIV or hepatitis. It's frightening and confusing for a teenager and torture for his mother.
Are you worried that this might change your life forever?
PATIENT'S MOTHER: He's young. Yes, he has the rest of his life. And I don't want him to have to live in fear.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Even after enduring that ordeal, the family tells us that they tried repeatedly to call Dr. Harrington to complain. But the doctor never returned any of their calls and he hasn't returned any of our calls either.
Meanwhile, health officials here in Oklahoma say Dr. Harrington could face felony criminal charges and so could the assistants who worked inside this practice with him as well. Brooke.
BALDWIN: Ed Lavandera, OUTFRONT for us tonight --- Ed, thank you.
And now to this, gay players in the NFL. There's been a lot of reporting recently that a professional football player may consider coming out in a matter of weeks. There has never been an out player in the NFL or on any major league sports team. Think about it. Basketball, football, baseball, hockey, not at all.
But some like former San Francisco 49er Kwame Harris has come out after leaving the league. Harris has actually never talked publicly about his own sexuality until today. And he talked only to his former teammate Coy Wire.
We'll talk to Coy here who is live with us tonight, just a moment. But, first, his exclusive interview with Kwame Harris.
KWAME HARRIS, FORMER NFL PLAYER: In this field, huh?
COY WIRE, FORMER NFL LINEBACKER (voice-over): Kwame Harris is always a standout football player, from high school to Stanford University, to first round pick in the 2003 draft. He played six seasons in the pros -- five with San Francisco 49ers and one with the Oakland Raiders.
HARRIS: I loved football. Football provided me with some experiences and some opportunities that I wouldn't trade for anything else. But at the same time, the cost was great in asking me to not be candidly or be able to be open about myself in this complete manner.
WIRE: Harris is gay. He says he's always known this but concealed it until recently.
HARRIS: I wasn't publicly out until about, I don't know, the beginning of the Super Bowl, when it was publicized.
WIRE: It was publicized after an altercation with an ex- boyfriend outside a restaurant.
Not long after, current 49er, Chris Culliver, made this comment on Artie Lange's radio show.
CHRIS CULLIVER, SAN FRANCISCO 49ER CORNERBACK: No gay people on the team. They have to get out of here if they do.
WIRE: Culliver ultimately apologized, but the sentiment is not uncommon in the sports world. Last baseball season, Toronto shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended for three games for a gay slur written in Spanish in the grease under his eyes. Escobar apologized as well.
But it does explain why no player in any of the four major male professional sports in the U.S. has ever come out while playing.
(on camera): Did you ever consider coming out while you were a player?
HARRIS: No. Not while I was playing. I didn't see those two things as being compatible, but now, when I look back in hindsight, if I -- if I could have done it differently, I would like to think I would find the strength or find the fortitude or the grace to kind of make the hard decision.
WIRE: For Harris, the burden almost became too much to bear.
HARRIS: You want to escape the fear, the turmoil and your mind goes to dark places sometimes, but I would just say that I -- I'm happy today. I'm glad that, you know, I didn't actually -- that those are just ideas and I did go on any of those things. And that, you know, it does -- it does get better in the end.
WIRE (on camera): You hadn't spoken to any media at all. So, why now?
HARRIS: I want people, whether they're gay athletes or athletes who still in the closet or youth who aren't quite sure what their sexuality is, to realizes that that not only is that not unique, but those feelings are common feelings. Don't feel incredibly alone in having those questions.
And, secondly, that I'm gay, and I'm a former athlete and I think I'm a pretty normal guy.
BALDWIN: Coy Wire joining me live tonight.
And, Coy, it's interesting when your friend Kwame talks -- Kwame talks about, you know, the cost is great. The cost is coming out if there were to be a player today who would come out, a current active player, what is the cost?
WIRE: Well, I think we all can imagine what the torment and stress would be. But I think one thing that Kwame said in the interview that we had was that it shocked him and surprised him how many people were actually there to support him. Even the family members and former teammates who he thought would ostracize him and have a difficult time accepting, they were actually the first ones to rush to his support and to embrace him.
So I think that is what shocked a lot of people.
BALDWIN: Well, here's the thing, I talked to Mike Freeman this week, CBS Sports, and he's the one who had basically the scoop, source reporting that there is a current player considering coming out and what the headline to me was it's not, you know, the fear over locker room or friends and family, it's the fans. It's the hostility he would face.
Can you see that?
WIRE: I can see that. But I can also see that fans are hostile even when you cause your team a penalty, right? So, they're going to be hostile no matter what.
But I think the main concern for a player who would come out would be his teammates and his coaches. That would be the main concern, because those are people with whom you spend most of your time, who you go to battle with, who you work with, who you study with. And they're the guys who you look at as family members. You respect them most of anyone out side of your family. So I think that would be the first main concern for a player.
BALDWIN: I want to read a tweet from ESPN's business reporter, Darren Rovell, quote, "If an active NFL player admits he is gay, he'll have so many endorsement deals lined up, he won't know what to do with them." Coy, do you agree?
WIRE: Well, I can tell you this, this person who would come out would be iconic. They would be leading a movement that's happening right now in our society and our culture where we're more open-minded and embracing of the gay community. So this person would absolutely be in high demand, right?
So I was interviewing Fawn Yacker of The Last Closet, and she said that person wouldn't have to worry about a paycheck. That person will be rallied behind, supported, embraced by an entire community and, again, to Kwame's point, I think it would surprise most people how many would actually be in support who aren't gay, straight individuals who would support that player and embrace them.
BALDWIN: Coy Wire, thank you and thanks for your interview with Kwame as well. We appreciate his candor.
Still to come OUTFRONT tonight is CBS sports commentator's joke has been called racist. Do all claims add up? We'll go there.
And we'll show you Marilyn Monroe's lost letter. She tells her friend she thinks she's going crazy.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BALDWIN: Fifth story OUTFRONT tonight, the white man's perspective. CBS Sports analyst Doug Gottlieb caused quite a kerfuffle last night, controversy. After being introduced during the network's NCAA coverage, he joked about being the only white guy on a panel of black former basketball players.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOUG GOTTLIEB, CBS SPORTS CONTRIBUTOR: Cream rising to the crop. I'm just here to bring diversity to this set, give the white man's perspective on the point guard position. No?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just checking. Marquette-Miami --
GOTTLIEB: What's up with you guys?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just checking, man. I'm just checking. You jumped right into it. You're swimming hard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Awkward. And as the night wore on, Gottlieb's critics piled on, calling the comment he made racist, inappropriate. ESPN's Mark May tweeted, "After Doug Gottlieb's ignorant comment on CBS, he should be canned." Sports analyst later released a statement through CBS saying, quote, "It was not a smart thing to say and apologize."
But the question we're asking tonight is was the joke really out of line?
OUTFRONT tonight, Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill, CNN contributor and ESPN columnist L.Z. Granderson, and political comedian, Dean Obeidallah.
Gentlemen, welcome on this Friday night.
Dean, I'm going to let you have first crack at this here because people have been jumping all over him online, on Twitter as you can imagine. Should he be canned over the comment?
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, POLITICAL COMEDIAN: Absolutely not. The joke was not -- look, we're adults. We know the difference between somebody demonizing and someone being playful. He's joking around with his coworkers.
That doesn't mean people won't be outraged. People go on Twitter and they type in all capital letters, "I'm outraged" and they retweeted to their friends. We live in a world of hyper sensitivity and instant outrage.
And this man is just a victim of that. If he was truly being racist, believe me, I would be there criticizing as well.
It was a playful joke. That's it. Let's laugh about it or don't laugh. It's your choice.
BALDWIN: Professor Hill, playful, joke?
MARC LAMONT HILL, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY: First, I would like to say that Dean is racist. That --
BALDWIN: Mark --
OBEIDALLAH: How dare you? How dare you, Marc?
BALDWIN: Come on now, Marc Lamont Hill. Don't be starting anything tonight.
HILL: I'm just saying. Hey, if he disagrees with me he must be racist. That's the rules, right?
BALDWIN: No, it's the point.
HILL: First of all, I doubt -- yes, I that this guy is a bad person at the core. I think he just made an attempt at humor and Dean can probably attest, Dean is a comedic genius. Most people aren't. Most people are really bad -- most people are bad at it. And he made a really bad joke.
I think the problem is it's not just a bad joke. It's an irresponsible joke and in some ways, it pokes fun at real attempts to diversify.
And it's sort of ironic to make -- I mean, come on, there are enough white guys on TV. Do you have to poke fun at a white guy's presence on national TV?
BALDWIN: Let me -- let me play this. Charles Barkley, he jumps in, kind of comes to his friend's rescue a little later. Here's what Charles Barkley said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES BARKLEY, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I want to say something about Doug Gottlieb. He made a joke earlier tonight and people are going crazy, all the idiots on Twitter, which I will never, ever do. Listen, me, Kenny and Greg Anthony and Greg Gumbel did not take that personally.
So all you people at home who got no lives who will talk about Doug Gottlieb -- get a life. It's over with. It's no big deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: He says get a life.
L.Z., if you think -- what if the situation was reversed? What if it was a bunch of white guys and one African-American? Would it make a difference? L.Z. GRANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely, because of the dynamics and the history. We can't ignore that. First and foremost, let me just say that I worked with Doug. I have known Doug for a few years when he worked at ESPN. I met his father, I know he's a good father, he's a good guy. He didn't mean anything racist directly with his statement.
It's a bad joke. As the great professor just said, it's an irresponsible joke because we know for a fact -- I mean, there have been studies about the lack of diversity not just in reporting in general, but in sports reporting in particular. I mean, there are only two women of color in the entire country who have national columns. I mean, that's the type of lack of depth we have when it comes to diversity in sports.
So, the joke was a bad joke and it was an irresponsible joke but he's not a bad person, he's not a racist.
BALDWIN: Now, had the situation been reversed. Guys, roll the tape. Speaking of the great professor, he was involved in this. Roll it.
STEPHEN PIMPARE, AUTHOR, "THE PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF POVERTY IN AMERICA": It's funny to sit here and be part of a panel and talk about poverty and a noted (ph) black person.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Did you find it offensive?
HILL: I did, as a black person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Marc Lamont Hill, you agree with L.Z. that that's totally different?
BALDWION: There we go, pulling the archives.
OBEIDALLH: Answer that, Mark.
HILL: Damn you and your tapes! I would like to reiterate Dean is racist and that tape is racist, too.
GRANDERSON: I was misquoted.
HILL: This happens if you get on Friday night.
No, look, there are different dynamics between black and white. I think one of the challenges we have in America is we like to pretend black and white are opposite sides of the same coin and they're not. One has the power to name, one has the power to control, one has institutional authority, one has wide representation. The other one does not.
So it's just different dynamics to compare black and white. Again, I'm not ready to pull out a picket sign on this guy. I think it's just a bad joke, he should say I shouldn't tell jokes anymore, leave it to Barkley.
But at the end of the day, we can't compare black and white.
BALDWIN: I'm reminded of this "New York Times" op-ed I read once upon a time, with Bill Maher, and his whole point is we are too sensitive. As a society, we are too sensitive.
Dean Obeidallah, you're nodding. You get the last word.
OBEIDALLAH: It's a war on comedy, Brooke. You know what this is about. It's destroying my freedom of expression, Marc Lamont, you freedom crusher. How dare you.
You make fun of white people --
BALDWIN: (INAUDIBLE) on Friday night, gentlemen. Whoo!
OBEIDALLAH: I've done jokes about white -- I'm half white, I'm biracial. I've done jokes about white people and I have been demonized by people on Twitter.
So, it goes both ways. Race is a third rail right now. Talk about it, you make fun of anyone but your own race, you're going to have to hire a publicist and deal with it.
GRANDERSON: But you're a comedian. That's the difference.
BALDWIN: That's the difference. You think there's absolutely a line. When you talk race or something else, L.Z., there absolutely is a line.
Marc Lamont Hill, L.Z. Granderson, Dean Obeidallah, gentlemen, thank you very much.
OBEIDALLAH: Nice seeing you.
BALDWIN: Still to come -- still to come tonight, a million dollar auction set to begin. We will show you the private letters of presidents, pop stars and Marilyn Monroe.
BALDWIN: We've got some breaking news to our top story tonight here with regard to North Korea. So, here's what we're learning from Reuters. North Korea's state-run media, KCNA, is now reporting that North Korea says it will enter a, quote-unquote, "state of war against South Korea."
State of war, what does that mean? It's a great question. We're trying to get more information on exactly what that does mean and we'll get back to you of course on CNN through the weekend.
Finally, tonight, a massive sale will take place in two months when an anonymous American collector will be auctioning off more than 250 letters that could bring in between $3 million and $5 million. The collection includes an angry note from John Lennon to Paul McCartney at the time of the Beatles' breakup, plans for the light bulb drawn by Thomas Edison and 58 letters handwritten by Dwight D. Eisenhower.
But the most popular item is a letter that Marilyn Monroe wrote to her acting teacher, describing her increasingly desperate mental state, including the passage, quote, "I'm still lost. I mean, I can't get myself together. I sound crazy but I think I'm going crazy."
It's an amazing collection the likes of which we will probably never see again, mostly because -- well, people just don't write letters anymore. Somehow I just can't picture future auctions offering Alec Baldwin's e-mails or Chevy Chase's voice mails or Kim Kardashian's tweets.
If you want to see a piece of actual history in person, the items will be exhibited April 8th through 16th at Douglas Elements Gallery in New York City, and you can buy them at profiles in history on May 30th.
I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me tonight.
Coming up next, an Anderson Cooper special report, "Murder Abroad: The Amanda Knox Story".