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Jason Collins Makes History; Warrant Out For Ukraine's Ousted President; What Will Putin Do In Ukraine?; Egyptian Government Resigns; Pentagon Plans To Shrink Army; Paula Deen Is Back; Winter Olympics In The Books; Carbon Monoxide Threat; NFL Weights Punishment for Racial Slurs

Aired February 24, 2014 - 06:00   ET



JASON COLLINS, PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: I know how to play basketball. I'm ready. Let's do it.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, history on the hardwood. Jason Collins becomes the first openly gay athlete to play in a major American professional sport. We're going to hear from him after the game.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Also breaking, an international manhunt for Ukraine's disposed president. The U.S. warning Russia not to intervene as our reporter goes inside the lavish presidential home. A zoo, a boat and a Bentley.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Games over. The Olympics come to and end in Sochi. Russia's final bow filled with music, fireworks, even a crying bear and a little humor. So, were the games a success?

CUOMO: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Monday and so we begin again. February 24th is today. It's 6:00 in the east. Listen to this, he played just 12 minutes, but the moment will last a lifetime. I'm talking about Jason Collins. He made history in Hollywood last night. Forget about the movies, this was real life.

Just by simply stepping on to the floor of the Staples Center. He didn't score a point in his first NBA game since saying he's openly gay, but he sure made one heck of a point. Stephanie Elam joins us live from Los Angeles -- Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. You're talking about a man who has played in the NBA for about three decades, but this was the first time he stepped on the court as an openly gay man.


ANNOUNCER: Number 46, Jason Collins.

ELAM (voice-over): As he took the court early in the second quarter, Jason Collins became the first openly gay athlete to play professional sports in the United States. Collins signed a 10-day deal with the Brooklyn Nets before the game.

P. MAGEE, NETS FAN: That's amazing that the Nets were willing to open up and allow him to still showcase his talents even though his sexual orientation may be different than most.

ELAM: Collins was a free agent when he made the announcement and many wondered if a team would pick him up.

JASON COLLINS, BROOKLYN NETS: I always try to stay positive and try to control what I can't control. It's my training. So I always try to focus on that, being positive and staying ready. That's part of being a professional.

ELAM: And now that the opportunity is here, Collins says his head is in game.

COLLINS: It's about focusing on the task at hand and not thinking about history or anything like that along those lines.

ELAM (on camera): The Nets coach, Jason Kidd, says there's a familiarity with Jason Collins. They have played together and also he says he's a professional that he knows this game and at the end of the day, that's what the nets want to do. They want to win games.

(voice-over): As Collins is making history on the court, Michael Sam is doing the same on the field. At the NFL combine in Indianapolis, the Missouri defensive end said he wants his athleticism to speak for itself.

MICHAEL SAM, NFL PROSPECT: It is what it is. I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam, the football player instead of Michael Sam, the gay football player.

ELAM: Collins agrees and says life is much better now.

COLLINS: I don't have to hide who I am. I can just be my normal self. The past ten months has been incredible.


ELAM: Collins says that playing in Los Angeles was especially heartfelt for him since he's from here. Feeling that hometown love even though he is for the opposite team was good for him. One other note to mention here too is that he was playing under the number 46, but going forward he will be playing under the number 98.

And that's an ode to Matthew Shepard, who is the young man who was killed in a hate crime at the University of Wyoming for allegedly being gay. That's the reason why they believe he was killed. So he's still going to stick with that number. That means a lot to him -- Kate. KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That is a powerful message and great to see him on the court. Thank you so much, Stephanie.

Let's turn now to some breaking news overseas from the Ukraine where the former president has become a wanted man. Viktor Yanukovych is on the run as a warrant has now been issued for his arrest, the charge, mass murder.

And now major questions are facing Russian President Vladimir Putin as to what his next move will be. Senior international correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh is following all the developments for us. Good morning, Nick.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we are waiting to hear a big word from Vladimir Putin. He's been noticeably silent despite the fact that his key ally, the former President Viktor Yanukovych is gone in a matter of days from being the ruler to a man on the run in the south of the country.

A quite remarkable transformation over the weekend here, Kate, but we spent some time inside the private residence of Viktor Yanukovych where we saw examples of the unbelievable wealth he apparently accumulated.


WALSH (voice-over): The ousted president is wanted for mass murder and on the run in the south probably seen leaving a private house there. Ukraine is still on the streets watching a new government form, mourning the dead and enjoying a strange period when the people are the only real power around.

Moscow has been pretty silent so far about losing its main ally here. The ex-president and the United States hope it stays out militarily.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would be a grave mistake.

WALSH: Ukrainians still digesting the rapid collapse of their past and the immense wealth of Yanukovych here at his personal retreat. A day at sea what money can buy if you really don't have anything sensible to do with it, soon it may be Yanukovych, their former owner who is behind the bars.

(on camera): He didn't even drive these cars and American army jeep. In the end he fled in the presidential helicopter. And not in this, a massive river boat for partying. Outside fascination at the life he led and they could only look in on while their country stagnated.

Inside, gifts from guests, months ahead when Ukraine comes to terms with a troubled economy and ask where did all the money go, here is part of the answer, president's own vodka.

(voice-over): We later got inside his house, a bizarre, enormous empty mansion. It was vacant. Everything laid on, even a tunnel linking the houses across miles and miles of grounds. The luxury literally never seemed to end. In his bedroom, one bell for sex, one for alcohol, it was presumably a joke, but how he lived to the people whose money this was isn't.


WALSH: Such a bizarre atmosphere inside that empty house, no one there seemed to have enjoyed it while he was there, but those missing billions people were now increasingly focused upon. Ukraine said it needs $35 billion, some of it hopes from America to see it out of the economic crisis that's coming to them now.

Behind me people are mourning on the square here, a real somber atmosphere still and soon that's going to melt away and the focus will be on the hard grind ahead of getting this country back on its feet -- Chris.

CUOMO: Absolutely, Nick. Thank you for that look at what the past was and the problems. The question will be as you say how does it get affected going forward? The question is obvious and right in front of your face. The question for us will be in the U.S., how do you respond? Three big options, right?

This is what we could see happening with Putin. The first one is Putin could mess with Ukraine's money to put it very blankly there. Remember all of this began when the Ukraine backed out of a deal with the E.U. to take instead billions of dollars from Russia as well as fuel, oil and gas. What could he do now?

Well, he could withhold that money, right? And then he'll keep leverage with what happens going forward. The second option would be that Russia could put boots on the ground in Ukraine. Now this would be a big deal. It would outrage the international community, but not unprecedented.

Putin did it before in Georgia in 2008. But remember this, this time he would be doing it in defiance of what was requested by the U.S. that puts heat on President Obama to show there are teeth behind his talk. Think red line politics from Syria. That's why this situation is so important to the U.S.

And then the third option, what Putin could do is encourage secession in the Ukraine because half of this country, the eastern half obviously is still very much Russian in culture and language. Putin could try to break that part off for himself. That would obviously be unacceptable.

Not just to the people there, but to the international community as well. So these are the different options we're going to see how it unfolds. We'll talk with Christiane Amanpour about which ones are more realistic. But that's a basic ground for you of where we are in terms of going forward -- Michaela.

PERIERA: Great context there, Chris. Thanks so much. Let's take a look at your headlines now. Breaking news from Egypt where much of the government has now apparently submitted its resignation starting with the prime minister. It's unclear who else has joined him. It's unclear their reasons or when. Those resignations will take effect. No word if the interim president has accepted the resignations either. More breaking news for you, Attorney General Eric Holder said Congress should pass legislation requiring companies to disclose data breaches. He says customers should have to be told quickly when personal information is put at risk so that they can protect themselves from identity theft. Holder says higher standards would also hold companies accountable when they fail to keep our data safe.

The Pentagon is planning to shrink the U.S. Army. This is according to the "New York Times." Defense Secretary Hagel wants to reduce Army forces to their lowest level since before World War II and also wants to eliminate an entire class of Air Force attack jets. Details with the proposed Pentagon budget will be released later today and must be approved by Congress.

In California, doctors are trying to make sense of a mysterious virus that has left some 25 children suffering from symptoms similar to polio. Doctors believe it could be linked to an unknown virus. Public health officials are looking to see if there are similar cases outside of the state.

Well, she says she is back in the saddle. Former Food Network star, Paula Deen, taking the stage at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival over the weekend offering another apology and saying she's doing great. That after seeing her career fall apart after racist comments she acknowledged she made in the past. The private firm is now investing millions to help Deen's make her comeback. Those are your headlines.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela.

PEREIRA: No problem.

BOLDUAN: All right, so despite the spring-like temperatures and I loved them over the weekend, parts of the country felt it over the weekend, another blast of arctic air is on its way, set to move in, hitting the Midwest with yet another deep freeze and parts of the east coast are already starting to feel it. Say it isn't so, Indra. Indra Petersons is tracking it all for us. What are we looking at? What do we expect, Indra?

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: It's a tough Monday for me to keep sharing this. I mean, who wants spring temperatures? Forget about it, right? We want more cold, arctic air, because that's exactly what we'll be getting, already diving down from the Midwest each day. The temperatures are going to get colder.

Let's do a comparison, shall we? Yesterday's temperature, these looked good. I mean, let's take New York City. It's 54 almost 70s into the southeast. Today's temperatures not as pretty, but not so bad just yet. Only 30s now towards New York City but notice the Midwest starting to see that cold air first.

Let's look at it a different way. Who is seeing temperatures their highs below freezing or at the freezing mark. Not so bad, the Midwest, maybe upstate New York and in towards Maine. By tomorrow seeing the cold air sag farther to the south by Wednesday that's the out track going all the way down even Nashville seeing their high below freezing.

We'll see windy conditions as the cold air moves in. Then Tuesday in through Wednesday, even some snow into the mix. So happy Monday, it is difficult. No one likes to see me today. Everyone saying and here is Indra.

BOLDUAN: It's still winter. We do have to come to terms with that.

PETERSONS: A couple more weeks.

PEREIRA: Some people just got their cars unmelted.

PETERSONS: It looked good for a day.

BOLDUAN: I was nervous for some of those cars.

CUOMO: People are happy to see you, but that line of cold weather, that did not work. That did not work.

PETERSONS: I'll try again.

CUOMO: You'll get more chances.

All right, a little bit of a spoiler alert here, not as much as it was before. You have to know the Olympics are over. Sunday marked the one final day of competition as the Russians delighted the hometown crowd with some last-minute heroics.

It all came to an end with this elaborate closing ceremony went off without a hitch. Saved which means except for one deliberate mistake. Ivan Watson is with us from Sochi wrapping up our Olympic coverage. Ivan, tell us about it.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good morning, Chris, from Sochi where it's seriously sun-tanning weather right now. It's pretty warm right now. I was in the stadium behind me last night for the closing ceremony. I saw Russian President Vladimir Putin clapping to the dance music along with tens of thousands of other spectators as the Russians bid at times a triumphant, emotional and sometimes humorous farewell to the Olympic Games.


WATSON (voice-over): In an explosive closing ceremony, Russia waved farewell to the world's Olympians with style and grace. In a show of class that won applause from within the stadium, the host country even poked fun at itself, mirroring the mistake in the opening ceremony, one ring seemingly unable to form until the spectacular finale.

For Russia, it was this final event that sealed the host country's fate atop the games medal table. The nearly two-hour 50-kilometer race all came down to this heart-pounding sprint. A dramatic ending as Russia crossed the finish line just ahead, a one, two, three sweep for Team Russia. And on the bobsled track, Russia's veteran athlete, Alexander Sovkof (ph), piloted his four-man team to the top of the podium. Russia clinching the lead by less than a tenth of a second, the 39-year-old Sovkof left this season's world circuit competition empty handed and did the Olympic Games with two gold medals, the first driver to do so in bobsled for a host nation.

The race marked a historic victory for Team USA as well. Steven Holcomb steered the Americans to bronze securing third place by just 300ths of a second. His victory in the four-men and two-men bobsled ended USA's dry spell. The 33-year-old becoming the first American pilot to win medals in both races in more than five decades.

But out on the hockey rink, it was Team Canada who left the ice celebrating. In a power pack 3-0 shutout against Sweden, Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, all sunk the puck cementing Canada's win, the first hockey team undefeated in 30 years.

Now at the close of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Russia hands the games flag off to South Korea, a passing of the torch to the host of the 2018 winter games in Pyongyang.


WATSON: Now in the stadium, I saw some of the young, very enthusiastic Russian volunteers actually wiping away tears at end of the closing ceremony. It was emotional, but the good will may not last very long. We are hearing from Moscow police that they have detained already more than 200 protesters today outside a Moscow courthouse, people protesting against the conviction of anti-Kremlin protesters from 2012, a lot of activists telling me they are worried the Kremlin will crack down hard on critics of the government now that the Olympic Games are over -- Chris and Kate.

CUOMO: All right. Ivan, we'll keep watching that. It matters beyond the scope of the Olympics. Thanks for that this morning.

And for those of you at home, what is the final medal count?

BOLDUAN: Tell us!

CUOMO: We know Russia making home fans proud. They got the most, 33. You're looking at it right there, 13 gold. Team USA, second overall. Followed by Norway, Canada and Netherlands.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Ten, 10, and five, just need to recognize those numbers.

CUOMO: I lost the woman's hockey game.

BOLDUAN: And I convinced you to double down.

CUOMO: Some people told me to protest with instant replay USA won the game. That's not how I am. I lost the bet. I must wear mix mittens, which she forgot. There will be an adult exchange later on.

PEREIRA: Wait, easy. Maybe extrapolate on that.


CUOMO: Don't get crazy. You won, but you didn't win that big.

We're exchanging an adult beverage later on.

PEREIRA: As you would say, don't flatter yourself.

CUOMO: Don't flatter yourself. Get over yourself and your mittens. But you bring them in, I will wear them.

PEREIRA: We'll do the exchange.

BOLDUAN: And I'll just cheer you on. I knew you were going to win all along.

CUOMO: When I lose, everybody wins.

BOLDUAN: All right. Coming up next, one of the most wanted men in the world, busted. The Mexican drug lord El Chapo now in custody. We have new details on how he was captured and you won't believe how he lived while on the run.

CUOMO: The most powerful man with the most powerless nickname ever.

Also, you heard about this happening in homes, but a restaurant manager is dead and many others sickened by carbon monoxide. We're going to tell you what you need to know to protect your family. No joke, coming up.


BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

One person is dead and dozens more recovering from a carbon monoxide leak here in New York. This is one of two other recent incidents were people were killed or hospitalized after exposure to the deadly gas.

CNN's Alexander Field has more on the details. This is very scary.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is. Chris, Kate, over this winter, so many of us have experienced these severe temperatures. We know when it gets cold, the exposure to carbon monoxide becomes more common. This death over the weekend, a reminder that while we can take precaution in our homes, we don't always know what precautions have been taken in public places. And that's why we need to know the signs of a problem.


FIELD (voice-over): This morning, clues from a deadly carbon monoxide at a busy New York mall. Steven Nelson found unconscious in the basement of the Legal Sea Foods he managed. The 55-year-old pronounced dead at a hospital, 27 other people, 7 of them first responders, sent to hospitals with symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is news you don't expect to hear. It's almost unexpectedly losing a loved one.

FIELD: The restaurant didn't have a carbon monoxide detector. Huntington town officials say New York state fire code doesn't require them in restaurants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We always assume something is in place, but the reality is there isn't anything in place. This is sort of a sad wake- up call for everyone.

FIELD: Officials say the deadly gas spread through the basement because of a leak in the pipe of a water heater.

Sunday, seven people in Maine were also taken to area hospitals complaining of symptoms at their motel. They found high levels of carbon monoxide.

Earlier this month, another water heater leak at a hotel in Maryland sent nine people to the hospital.

And later year, three people died in the same room at a North Carolina hotel almost two months apart. Fire officials traced the carbon monoxide to ventilation pipes for a pool heater placed near an air- conditioning unit for their room. The gas is odorless, colorless and tasteless. You won't know there's a leak without a working carbon monoxide detector.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was severe enough, they would actually pass out and go into a coma or die.

FIELD: Risk of exposure goes up when the temperature goes down. In commercial spaces, the problem typically starts in the basement or a ground floor where heating equipment is often kept. Danger follows when it isn't properly ventilated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you hold a match by the flew, you'll see the flame go up. If it blows towards you, there's something wrong.


FIELD: Dizziness, nausea, acute headaches, those are some of the symptoms. If you start to feel them, you need to open the door, open the window. Get out of the environment. Chris and Kate, those are the symptoms that the emergency workers in Long Island recognized over the weekend. That's why they are able to get so many people out.

BOLDUAN: So scary it took them actually sensing those symptoms. Then they realized what they were dealing with. It took them having to arrive at the restaurant to figure that out.

FIELD: They knew when they walked in the door they started to feel it. But we can all really --

BOLDUAN: We should all learn from that. Yes, thank you so much, Alexandra.

CUOMO: That's why I encourage hyper vigilance. You know, I know it's hard when you start hearing those alerts and want to change the batteries and it's frustrating in the house. They are only good for a limited amount of time. Carbon monoxide, but you have to take it seriously because you won't know until it's too late.

So, that's why we tell you the story, so that we can put it to use in your own life.

All right. First, big NASCAR race is in the books. We begin with drama in the NASCAR season. Confusion over who actually won the Daytona 500.

Andy Scholes is here with that in this morning's "Bleacher Report". What happened?


You know, the race was delayed for more than six hours due to rain. So fill time, the broadcast started to air last year's race. Well, Jimmie Johnson won the Daytona 500 in 2013. When many news outlets like FOX News saw the replay of the race, they got a little confused and reported that Jimmie won this year's race.

Now, Johnson had fun with this, I hear I won the Daytona 500, ha ha." Once they finally restarted the actual race, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the checkered flag for his second win at Daytona.

The NFL combine has seen some strange stories but, it's going to be a first. San Diego State running back Adam Muema up and left the combine because god told him he was going to play for the Seattle Seahawks. And Muema who at best is projected to be a late round pick has already changed his Twitter bio to say he plays for the Seahawks.

A big topic on social media and right now is the possibility of NFL penalizing players 15 yards for using discriminatory language on the field, most notably the N-word. According to reports, the NFL competition committee is discussing putting this in place for next season.

The new potential rule receiving mixed reviews at combine. Some players said it would interview with their use of freedom of speech, while others worried about how it would be enforced. Guys, that would be the biggest issue. How do you police this on the field, especially late in games, because a 15-yard penalty decides a game, there would be a big blowback about that.

BOLDUAN: Maybe there shouldn't be. Maybe it's just one of the lessons that's going to be have to be learned. Don't say it and you won't get the 15-year penalty. But we got a lot more to talk about.

Thanks, Andy.

CUOMO: Andy has nothing else to say about it, but we are going to have a debate about it, about whether or not this is how you change culture, is this a good move for the league, penalizing players for what they say, things that are seen as offensive? We'll do the debate, you get involved, we'll move forward.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next, captured after 12 years on the run. A Mexican drug lord set to face trial in Mexico, but some are arguing he should be brought to the U.S. We'll tell you why.


PEREIRA: Welcome back. Let's take a look at your headlines at this hour. A history-making night in Hollywood. The Brooklyn Nets Jason Collins becoming the first openly gay athlete to compete in a major professional sport in the U.S.