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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Tornadoes Strike Mississippi, Alabama; Clippers Owner's Alleged Racist Rant; Interview with Spike Lee; Hunt For Flight 370 Expands Significantly; 193 Confirmed Dead, 109 Missing In South Korea's Ferry Disaster; Tornado Death Toll Rises To 18 After Two Deaths In Alabama
Aired April 28, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. There's breaking news on a very dangerous night after an especially deadly weekend. New tornado watches and warnings going up. New twisters touching down including this one, a storm as you can see, of devastating proportions. We got a team of forecasters and correspondents working to bring you the latest so you can stay safe.
Also tonight the growing outrage after tape surfaces apparently of this man, L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, making racist remarks. You'll hear the words and the firestorm that touched off and his ugly history as well. Reactions tonight from Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, also Spike Lee joins us live to talk about it. We'll also look at what the NBA can do to Sterling if these latest allegations prove true.
Plus he abandoned ship so fast he left his pants behind. That's the captain of the South Korean ferry in the blue boxers there. New video emerging from the sinking ferry of the captain leaving and the announcement telling everybody else to stay in their cabins. Many of those died.
We begin, though, with the breaking news tonight. A new line of violent weather putting nearly 50 million people at risk tonight. Already at least one tornado touching down in Tupelo, Mississippi, with reports of very serious damage. These are new pictures just in from the scene.
Other tornadoes reported in Yazoo City another near Jackson, Mississippi. Just moments ago -- one outside a Mississippi town of Louisville. Remember all of this is happening just 24 hours after a punishing and deadly night across central and southern states.
COOPER (voice-over): A quiet season shattered Sunday as powerful storms from Texas to Iowa spawned more than 30 tornadoes in several states.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My ears are popping. Yes, we're in it now. We're in a tornado.
COOPER: Arkansas fared the worst. At least 14 people killed there. And officials expect the toll to rise as rescue workers continue digging through debris. A powerful twister about a half mile wide cut an 80-mile long path that struck parts of suburban Little Rock and slammed into the towns of Vilonia and Mayflower. Winds reached 135 miles an hour.
BRYANT PRUIT, VILONIA, ARKANSAS RESIDENT: There was this huge black cloud just right here to the southeast, and, you know, just coming our way. And it was already, you could just see stuff just boiling in it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then it just popped back up real quick and then I ran inside and about a minute it was over. I come outside and what you see is what we have.
COOPER: Personal possession were scattered for miles. Most of them lost but some of them found.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My daughter.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're so welcome. I'm so glad I was able to find a picture for you. Actually the photographer found that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.
COOPER: Along Interstate-40 tractor-trailers were swept off the roads, panicked drivers helped free others from the wreckage.
The devastation in Vilonia was especially tough. The town was hit by a tornado the same week three years ago. And many of the destroyed homes had only recently been rebuilt.
MAYOR JAMES FIRESTONE, VILONIA, ARKANSAS: Downtown, it seems like it's completely leveled. A few buildings partially standing but the amount of damage is tremendous.
COOPER: In Kansas a tornado tore through the town of Baxter Springs. Injuring at least 25 people and destroying more than 100 homes. The twister caused eight miles of damage and surprised many residents.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The next thing I know is my little brother pushing everybody in the bed and getting on top of the mattress. We hear nothing but windows breaking. Wood coming through the walls.
COOPER: And the threat isn't over yet. Strong storms and possible tornadoes are expected in the southeast for the next few days.
COOPER: It's important to repeat that this weather system has not finished doing damage.
Martin Savidge is on the ground in Tupelo, which just got hit. Ed Lavandera is in Mayflower, Arkansas, just up I-40 from Little Rock.
Martin, let's start with you. What's the situation in Tupelo right now? MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Tupelo right now they are holding their breath and literally still trying to figure out just how badly they have been hit. They know they've been hit hard. They just don't know whether it's absolute devastation at this point in a large area or whether it's pockets like the one we're in here, which is about maybe two miles northeast of downtown Tupelo itself.
Vanelli's Restaurant, very popular, one of those places everybody goes to celebrate a milestone in their life, been here since the '70s, this building since the '90s, and you can see it has been completely obliterated. There were about six employees, a handful of customer inside when this storm struck mid-afternoon.
Everybody went to the coolers. And the owner says they're no fools. They went to the beer cooler and that's where they hid. Fortunately everyone emerged safe and sound. Not a single person injured. One person injured in the parking lot in their vehicle. But that's the situation here. This place destroyed.
Many other commercial residences or businesses around here have been heavily damaged. But I won't say it's devastation just yet. The truth is we can't move because of a gas leak. Authorities are keeping us -- pretty much in place -- Anderson.
COOPER: And, Ed, what more do we know about the situation in Arkansas, the damage there?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, National Weather Service officials have been going throughout the day with their survey teams trying to assess just how strong this storm was. We know that the tornado had -- was packing winds of about 130 to 150 miles per hour.
The National Weather Service said late this afternoon they believed this storm was at least an EF-3 that measured about a half mile wide at one point and this area where we are last night, this is exactly where the tornado crossed along Interstate-40 in an area that had many cars along the roadways, many had -- were blown into this area that you see here behind me.
But it was a very powerful storm, Anderson, that spent about 40 miles on the ground here.
COOPER: And, Ed, in terms of options that people there have tonight in terms of, you know, getting out of danger and getting some shelter, what are -- what are their options?
LAVANDERA: Well, there are a couple of shelters set up in place. What we've seen today a lot of people going through the rubble and through their belongings. But, you know, we saw dozens and dozens of homes that are just simply inhabitable at this point. So they'll be relying on friends and family for shelter if not those shelters that have been set up.
And there's also an overnight curfew in place to keep people and the loitering down, and keep people in these very dangerous places at night with all of this debris. Power lines still down. That's a bit concern. And when the sun goes down again here tonight you don't want people traveling these roads and getting caught up in the debris that's left behind -- Anderson.
COOPER: And, Martin, as darkness is going to be coming soon to Tupelo the response is still ongoing, correct? I mean, they're still trying to assess exactly the scope of the damage?
SAVIDGE: Oh, yes, absolutely. They are. In fact they're still going street to street. They still have storms that are in the area. That's of course a concern. And then on top of that you have no electricity so that's making the looking more difficult because it's going to be done in the dark. So right now businesses here are trying to board up or protect what they can. Not here. There's not much to protect.
But elsewhere they are still trying to figure out as we say just how bad it is and whether the worst is passed, because they're still worried about what other storms may be headed this way.
COOPER: In terms of injuries or anything like that, are there any reports? Do we know?
SAVIDGE: No. We haven't. I mean, I'm hoping that no news is essentially good news. There are reports of injuries, we've seen some ourselves. But as far as fatalities, there have not been and I don't want to jinx it by saying it, but there have not been reports of any fatalities so far here. And remember this storm went just to the north of the downtown area of Tupelo, could be a blessing but this is a heavily business area and again a lot of damage.
COOPER: All right, Martin Savidge -- Martin Savidge, thanks very much. Ed Lavandera as well.
A quick reminder. You make sure you set your DVR so never miss 360.
Coming up we're going to have more on the tornado threat tonight. We're going to look at what other areas are under threat tonight and in the coming days.
Coming up next also, though, why the owner of the L.A. Clippers might not be the owner much longer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD STERLING, L.A. CLIPPERS OWNER: Well then, if you don't feel -- don't come to my games, don't bring black people, and don't come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's the tape heard around the world allegedly and the team is not denying it. Donald Sterling making those racist remarks and others as well. We have reaction ahead. More of the tape and also an exclusive interview tonight with filmmaker and basketball fan Spike Lee.
Plus the latest on the expanding underwater search for Flight 370 now that the air effort is suspended when we continue.
COOPER: Until this weekend unless you follow the NBA or live in Southern California chances are the name Donald Sterling really didn't mean much to you. Tonight the entire country knows L.A. Clippers' owner Donald Sterling as that guy allegedly caught on tape telling his girlfriend not to bring African-American -- not to bring African- American friends to Clippers games and saying a lot more as well.
The girlfriend, V. Stiviano -- V is her legal first name -- understandably doesn't want to show her face in public right now. Here she is wearing a visor heading out of her L.A. home, getting to a Bentley surrounded by paparazzi.
The audiotapes surfaced on Friday. And if it's the real deal, it won't be anything like the first time Sterling has said something or done something that smacked of bigotry. It may however be the last straw.
Over the weekend some of the biggest names in sports, politics and entertainment began unloading on him. Last night his players launched a protest on court, on national TV. Today big advertiser took a giant step away from him. Tomorrow the league could announce sanctions.
In a moment we'll have exclusive reactions from Spike Lee, but first how we got here. Take a look.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It didn't take long for the audio to explode. Listen once and you know why.
STIVIANO: People call you and tell you that I have black people on my Instagram, and it bothers you.
STERLING: Yes, it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?
STIVIANO: You associate with black people.
STERLING: I'm not you and you're not me. You're supposed to be a delicate white or a delicate Latina girl.
TUCHMAN: By now you like to know the male voice is allegedly Donald Sterling. In a conversation with his girlfriend who is almost a half century his junior named V. Stiviano. Comments that he appeared to not know were recorded.
STERLING: STERLING: Well then, if you don't feel -- don't come to my games. Don't bring black people and don't come.
STIVIANO: Do you know that you have a whole team that's black, that plays for you?
STERLING: You just -- do I know? I support them and give them food and clothes and cars and houses. Who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have -- who makes the game? Do I make the game or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners that -created the league?
TUCHMAN: This is how the Clippers dealt with all of this before Sunday's playoff game in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors. They took off their warm-up shirts, left them in a pile, and wore their shooting T-shirts inside out so the team name could not be seen.
Sterling was not at Sunday's playoff game. His estranged wife Rochelle was. She has filed a lawsuit against the mistress Stiviano accusing her in part of being a gold digger. Stiviano and Sterling have been seen together during other games. And the recorded tape, the discussion returns to former Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson who Stiviano says she admires.
STIVIANO: He happens to be black and I'm sorry.
STERLING: I think it's nice that you admire him. I know him well and he should be admired. And I'm just saying that it's too bad you can't admire him privately and during your entire (EXPLETIVE DELETED) life, your whole life, admire him, bring him here, feed him, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) him, I don't care.
You can do anything but don't put him on Instagram so the world have to see so they can call me. And don't bring him into my games, OK?
TUCHMAN: Magic Johnson said the comments make him hurt but not just for himself.
MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: I think that all of us are outraged, we're all upset if we're African-Americans because if you're going to be like this, why you're owning a team in the NBA which, what, is over 70 percent African-American basketball players? So I think he should step down.
TUCHMAN: The head coach of the Clippers, Doc Rivers, says his boss reached out to him but he declined to speak with Sterling.
DOC RIVERS, CLIPPERS HEAD COACH: I would just like to reiterate how disappointed I am in -- in the comments attributed to our owner. And I can't tell you how upset I am, our players are.
TUCHMAN: Other NBA owners have largely stayed silent but former basketball great and current Charlotte Bobcat owner Michael Jordan did speak out, issuing a statement saying, in part, "I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport."
What's next is anyone's guess. The league likely can't force Sterling out but already the advertising community is having its say. Five major sponsors pulled out today costing the team millions of dollars. The Clippers' next playoff game is Tuesday night. NBA Players Association has demanded he be barred from that and all remaining playoff games.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: On the issue of Magic Johnson, President Obama has condemned Sterling for making, quote, "incredibly racist statements." That's a quote. So has Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
As Gary mentioned, advertisers are distancing themselves. CarMax and Virgin America have cut ties with team. Several others including State Farm Insurance have put their relationship on hold.
Filmmaker Spike Lee, famously has a relationship with the New York Knicks, not the Clippers, he joins us, though, obviously as far more than just a fan of the game.
First of all, when you first heard these remarks, what went through your mind?
SPIKE LEE, FILMMAKER: I said why did it take so long? Let me tell you a story. I never said this before. My right hand to God on my mother's grave. In Los Angeles 2011, the All-Star Game, I was there. Me and my friend (INAUDIBLE), we were at a restaurant and Donald Sterling called us over to his table, his wife Rochelle was there.
And he started to say, why are they going to go on strike, we should pay all the players $500,000. If they didn't play basketball they wouldn't have a job. I swear to God he said this. And Baron Davis who played for the Clippers, he's my second cousin, so he's told me a whole lot of stuff.
COOPER: Is that right?
LEE: About Sterling. Then you look at the Elgin Baylor, the highest settlement in history.
COOPER: Right. He was sued for racial discrimination in housing. He settled the largest fine.
COOPER: Ever in the history of housing discrimination.
LEE: So tomorrow is a big day. The commissioner, the new commissioner, Adam Silver, they are having a press conference here in New York at 2:00 p.m. I'm going to be there.
COOPER: You're going.
LEE: Yes, I'm going to it. And a whole lot of people.
COOPER: You know this new commissioner.
LEE: Adam, I have known Adam a long time. David Stern, I've known -- he's a good guy.
COOPER: What do you think he should do?
LEE: He has -- I don't know they have -- I don't know the bylaws of the league. But he has to go.
COOPER: He shouldn't -- this guy Donald Sterling should not own --
LEE: He's got to go.
COOPER: -- a team.
LEE: Because he's tainting all the other 29 partners. He's tainting the league. And he's tainting America. And when you hear something like that, that is a mentality of a slave master. He sees his players as slaves.
COOPER: He feeds them, he --
LEE: Yes. What is that?
COOPER: He (INAUDIBLE) them.
LEE: And then I want to say -- I want to comment on what Magic said. Say, well, people say, not just -- people say, well, doesn't he know that all his players are black? Yes, he knows that. Masters know that, too, when we were out there in the cotton fields and whatnot, working. So he has to go.
And I would like to see, even though the league is 75 percent African- American, I think this -- outside of Dirk Nowitsky I really never heard from the white players.
COOPER: You think this should be an issue that white players speak out about, not just African-American players?
LEE: Everybody. Everybody. Yes, if you are someone who believes in humanity, justice for all whether based on race, sex, whatever, this is affront to everybody. We all should be outraged as Americans.
COOPER: What do you think of the reaction of the Clippers? You know, taking off their practice jerseys. I mean, there are --
LEE: I know all those guys. I know Doc, Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford is here with the Knicks. Those guys in tough spot and I would have loved to be a fly in the room at that meet they had.
COOPER: Trying to figure out how they (INAUDIBLE).
LEE: I would like to know how -- was it really a reality that they might have boycotted that game. But right now it's symbolism. And symbolism can be a great. We saw symbolism with Tommy Smith and John Carlos, with the black fists in the 68th Olympics in Mexico. And other players last night, the late game, Portland and Houston, they wore black socks.
But we need something stronger and I think this is a moment in history where particularly these African-American athletes have to step up.
COOPER: They've got to do more than what they do.
LEE: In my opinion. Of course, I'm not in their shoes. But I know what Doc is saying, they work all their lives. They've had this dream since they were a kid. Of winning a championship.
LEE: You know what?
COOPER: And the coach has also said that, you know, if they keep winning then this is going to keep more in the public eye than in the public conscience.
LEE: I mean, Doc, I know Doc. He's in a tough, tough space. And I watched the game yesterday. And even though Doc and the players won't admit it, that thing affected them. They are behind 20 points in the first quarter. Came back. But they are shook. And it's not their fault.
COOPER: It's interesting, though, because this is an incident which -- you know, we heard from Michael Jordan who, you know, the past has not been the most outspoken.
LEE: Michael stepped up.
LEE: People will wait for Michael. He's the only African-American -- I know you might say will -- some other people have little, little pieces of their NBA teams. Michael owns the Bobcats and people waiting on Mike and he came through. He came through. That was a huge for Michael Jordan to make the statement he did.
COOPER: I've heard from a lot of people who said, you know, under the bylaws maybe there's nothing the commissioner can directly do but that the other owners, you know, can basically go to this guy and say look, you got to cash in. I mean, you bought this team for $12 million, you could sell it, you're going to make hundreds of millions of dollars.
LEE: You can make a huge profit. I know people are lining up now.
COOPER: Yes, (INAUDIBLE).
LEE: To buy that franchise and second biggest market. The team is great on the verge of winning the NBA championship. But could I just say this?
COOPER: Yes. Yes.
LEE: There -- Kobe said it. He would play for them. They are not the only -- who is going to want to play for this guy? COOPER: Why would a free agent go to that team?
LEE: Who's going to want to play for this guy?
COOPER: Does anything matter? I mean, is there any -- you know, there's -- some people commented well, maybe the tape is edited or maybe --
COOPER: The woman has ulterior motives.
LEE: Why hasn't he -- why hasn't he denied it?
COOPER: Right. And he has not denied it.
LEE: Look, I'm a filmmaker. Those -- nobody acts that good.
That was no --
COOPER: You know acting and that wasn't acting?
LEE: That was not -- it is still doggery (ph). Eddie Malarkey. That was no okie- doke. That was the -- no. She set him up?
LEE: It looks like that but no one cares about that.
LEE: That was him, unfiltered, and he got caught. He's been saying this stuff for years, for 30 years.
COOPER: It's also always fascinated to me that nobody ever says, yes, I'm a racist. No one -- you know, even the people who said the most outrageous things, never just say, yes, this is what I feel. They always say no, you know, I love black people or whatever.
LEE: Yes --
COOPER: But then they come out and say --
LEE: Running up and down the court dunking for me, making me money.
COOPER: Right. Yes. But I don't want you to be photographed with them or seen with them or bring them to my games. I mean, it's --
LEE: Racism is an illness. And as you know, being who you are, it's always bubbling under the surface so it takes an O.J., or Trayvon Martin, and then just explodes, but it's always --
COOPER: Well, it's also --
LEE: -- right under the surface.
COOPER: It's also when you hear somebody saying this stuff it's easy to identify. There's structural forms of racism in this country which are much harder --
LEE: Institutional racism.
LEE: Where you can't vote. You can't do this. You can't do that.
COOPER: And that's a lot harder for people to kind of see and point to. And I'll get behind. This is sort of something where you say, obviously, look what this guy said is reprehensible.
LEE: The guy, I'm glad that even though I don't really care for how the thing was obtained, who is trying to make money, he got outed. This is who he is. He's been like this for 30 years. And for people to say well, alleging this stuff, what, we've got to have a picture with him on a robe and a hood and hold a burning cross? Is that what it's going to take and make people understand who this vile individual is?
He has to go. He's got to go.
COOPER: Spike Lee, it's good to have you on.
LEE: If I was a season ticket holder --
LEE: -- of the Clipper?
COOPER: You wouldn't go.
LEE: I'm not saying I would turn my tickets in but I would not be at that game tomorrow night in the Staple Center.
COOPER: You think it's important to send a message.
LEE: Very important. I mean, we're -- this stuff, again, I think -- I know you got to go. I know you got time. But we're never going to be the great country we can be until we deal with racism. We got to deal with it. Honestly. Even though it may hurt people. We have to deal with this and we can move on and be the great -- we're already the greatest country in the world but -- you know what I'm talking about.
COOPER: Even better.
Spike Lee, good to have you always.
LEE: Thank you.
COOPER: And as always you can find more on the story and others on CNN.com.
Coming up next, more on Donald Sterling's tarnished history, what he has said in the past, what he allegedly said now and what he's paid to settle a massive federal discrimination lawsuit.
We're going to look at that closer.
Later, we'll update you on the second straight of deadly weather in the south. And some of the heavy weather hitting the Nashville, Tennessee, area. Elsewhere the death toll is climbing. The danger is not over tonight. Details ahead.
COOPER: We'll have more on the Donald Sterling story. Here's some irony for you. Until the bombshell tape surfaced Sterling was set to receive an award and not the first one from the NAACP. At the same time he's also a man who once paid out a record $2.7 million to settle a federal housing -- excuse me, discrimination lawsuit which was neither the first such lawsuit nor the first or last allegation of blatantly racist remarks.
Randi Kaye investigates.
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): -- this is how Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, tried to show he cares about minorities. An ad in the "Los Angeles Times" from 2011 celebrating black history month. Trouble is the event is slated for March 2nd, black history month is February. The event was designed to raise funds for underprivileged children.
PETER KEATING, SENIOR WRITER, ESPN THE MAGAZINE: Nobody ever quite figure out how the Clippers were going to screen kids who were coming to the games for privilege level unless everybody who showed up was black was supposed to be underprivileged.
KAYE: Sterling's strained relationship with minorities started long before that. In 2003 when 19 tenants sued Sterling for discrimination he was quoted by an employee explaining why a housing unit sterling owned had an odor. His explanation according to ESPN was quote that's because of all the blacks in this building. They smell. They are not clean.
Later in 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice sued the Clippers owner for housing discrimination at his rental apartments. According to the lawsuit Sterling and his wife made statements indicating that African- Americans and Hispanics were not desirable tenants.
THOM MROZEK, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE: We alleged that they did not receive the apartments that they applied for because of their racial background.
KAYE: In 2009, Sterling settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay victims nearly $3 million. That same year all-star basketball legend, Elgin Baylor, took his former boss to court claiming he was fired as Clippers general manager because of his age and his race. Baylor not only accused Sterling of paying him significantly less because he's black, but also claims Sterling wanted the team to be composed of poor black kids from the south and a white head coach.
Similar to a southern plantation. He said Sterling told him repeatedly he was quote "giving these poor black kids an opportunity to make a lot of money." In court, Baylor also claims Sterling brought women into the locker room while players were showering, allegedly commenting, "look at those beautiful black bodies". Jury later rejected Baylor's lawsuits.
(on camera): Yet despite all of that, in 2009, the NAACP in Los Angeles honored Sterling with the lifetime achievement award, the president of the L.A. chapter of the civil rights group tried to justify it by revealing that Sterling gives as many as 3,000 tickets to youth groups for nearly every Clippers home game.
(voice-over): Next month, Sterling was set to receive another lifetime achievement award from the NAACP. But the group now says it will no longer give him that award. Sterling likes awards so much so he takes out big newspaper ads congratulating himself. In one such ad published in 2006 in the "L.A. Times," Sterling also pledged $50 million towards a state-of-the-art homeless project for families. Eight years later it has yet to be built. Randy Kaye, CNN, New York.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The question now is what can the NBA do about all this? What will the league announce tomorrow? TNT sports, Kenny Smith won two NBA championships with the Houston Rockets and joins us along with senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
So Kenny, first when you heard the tape over the weekend what went through your mind? Were you surprised?
KENNY SMITH, ANALYST, NBA ON TNT: I was surprised. I was shocked. I was appalled. All of those emotion went through. I always say that racism is a refuge for ignorance. It really was able to see the ignorance that at times you think have gone away in a modern day society that's still apparent and prevalent.
COOPER: Is there anything that can happen other than him being suspended? He has to be suspended, doesn't he?
SMITH: Well, I think, you know, the first thing is due process to make sure that was him. I think that the NBA is making sure that all of those things it wasn't edited no transcript way to make him in a different light. If that's the case then second thing is yes, you can be suspended. You can be removed from your daily operations. I mean, we have labor laws in the United States that people have to follow.
COOPER: Jeff, for you, is it simple that the guy has got to go?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: He's not just going get suspended and fined. He's gone. He's not going to be the owner of this team in the immediately foreseeable future. It's true that Adam Silver, the commissioner, doesn't have the explicit power to force him to sell, but this is a league thanks to David Stern with a very powerful commissioner. There are other owners involved. He cannot stay the owner of this team and he will be gone sooner rather than later.
COOPER: Well, I mean, if they can't force him out then how can he be so sure he'll be gone?
TOOBIN: Well, he's 80 years old. He'll be suspended. He can't own -- he can't show up at his own games presumably after he's suspended. He'll have a significant fine. Not necessarily from the commissioner, but his fellow owners will go to him and say look do you want to fight this in court for your remaining days or do you want to take your $12 million investment, sell it for $600 and live the rest of your life happily? I just think --
COOPER: At $600 million.
TOOBIN: At $600 million, yes. There's no way that this league is going to sit still for a guy like this still owning the team. It just can't happen.
COOPER: Kenny, what do you make of the players' decision of how they handled this to continue to playing?
SMITH: Well, I think that there's a lot of different ways you can handle it. I wish it would have been more strongly in terms of their input. I would love to hear what each of the players represent the Clippers think the Chris Pauls, Blake Griffin. When you think of the Clippers you don't think of Donald Sterling, you think of those players. You have an obligation to speak out and let us know what you're thinking and to make a change and I think they can do that.
COOPER: Jeff, does any of the back story to this tape matter? I mean, the motives of the woman involved whether or not there was some sort of editing involved. I mean, is the bottom line as long as it was his voice that's all that matters?
TOOBIN: Well, you mentioned editing. If somehow this tape has been edited to distort the meaning that could have -- that could have an impact. Remember, the Clippers have already made a statement and the statement was not that's not me on the tape. And as long as that's him on the tape, and they have also not said it was edited in some misleading way it doesn't matter if she potentially broke some law about wiretapping.
It doesn't matter if she's not a good person or if they are in litigation. All that matters is what he said and what it means to the larger community. And there's just no excuse. You can't have an owner of any professional sports team much less one with predominantly African-American players who express his views like this. It will not be tolerated. By the way they are already losing sponsors. Can you imagine a free agent at this point choosing to go to the Clippers if Sterling is still owning the team? It just can't happen. COOPER: Kenny, the picture that sparked this racist tirade by this guy from Donald Sterling or allegedly from Donald Sterling is this picture of Sterling's girlfriend with Magic Johnson. Have you talked to him about this at all?
SMITH: I haven't talked to Magic and really it doesn't matter honestly. What you see in this whole transgression is that you have a person who has been in power for 30 years and made billions of dollars off the people of California basically, real estate and through basketball, who have operated in a prejudicial manner. So, of course, he needs to be out of power in terms of where is. There's no other way around it. There's been smoke but now fire has come.
COOPER: I know Magic Johnson over the weekend talked about and saying that he would never go to another Clippers game as long as Sterling is the team's owner. Do you think people should boycott the games?
SMITH: I think that's your personal preference. There are people that support that I wouldn't support. That's your own prerogative. You have the right to protest and picket. You have the right to not go to a game. That's your individual morality. For me I would never be in a Clipper game as long as long as he is the owner as Kenny Smith, I would never go to a Clipper game.
COOPER: Kenny, it's great to have you on the program. Jeff Toobin as well.
Let's see what the league does tomorrow. Coming up, the video that has South Koreans outraged. The captain of the sinking ferry scrambling to safety as hundreds of people mostly students remain trapped inside. Also ahead a big change in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
COOPER: Malaysia Flight 370 enters another new phase without any sign of the wreckage of that plane or the 239 people who are on it when it disappeared 52 days ago. The search from the air has now been suspended. The underwater search will go on and be intensified. The new search area so big the process could take months according to Australia's prime minister and cost about $56 million.
Michael Holmes joins me now live from Perth with the latest. So let's talk about this next phase of the search. What do we know about it?
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Australian prime minister calling this probably the most difficult search in human history, easy to see why as we move to this next phase, Anderson, of searching the ocean floor over a much bigger area. We're talking 60,000 square kilometers. That's 23,000 square miles that's the likely broad impact area and they say they are going to look at all of it. We heard Angus Houston saying it could take eight months or more to do that once assets are in place. Tony Abbott though making it clear yesterday that said Australia is in the search for the long haul -- Anderson.
COOPER: Do we know how quickly new underwater vehicles can be brought in?
HOLMES: Yes, it's not a quick process. It could take weeks to put this next phase into full operation. Get the equipment here and then deploy it. The ships needed to run it, as you said it doesn't come cheap. This new phase early 60 million Australian dollars. The advantage of vehicles like these towed side sonar once like the Orion is they cover more ground. They tow behind the ship that means real- time data sent back unlike the Bluefin-21, of course, which has to be lifted out of the water and data downloaded.
Also the Orion can go deeper, it covers more ground, it goes faster. The only disadvantage is if you see something and want to turnaround have another look, it takes a half a day to turn the ship around, and be back over that spot -- Anderson.
COOPER: And a much bigger search area at 23,000 square miles. Michael Holmes, appreciate the update. The grief and outrage over South Korea's deadly ferry disaster is intensifying because of the newly release recordings of the panic on board and the behavior of some crew members. A 193 people now confirmed dead in the sinking of the ferry. Many of them high school students. A 109 still missing as divers continue to retrieve bodies from the vessel.
There are new perspectives on the disaster with the release of audio from the ferry's final moments and video of the ship's captain being rescued by the coast guard. Nic Robertson reports.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the video that has South Koreans outraged. The captain of the sinking ferry scrambling off his stricken vessel in his underwear. These are the men who rescued him. Speaking about it for the first time, explaining they had no idea who he was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): No, absolutely not. I didn't find out until later.
ROBERTSON: The real thrust of the questions here, why was the captain helped off so quickly. Why were the crew safe? Why more of the students not helped off the boat? The answers falling short of expectations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): During the rescue operation people, were just dropping in the sea. Everyone was wearing a life vest. So we couldn't tell who was passenger and who was crew?
ROBERTSON: The ground swell of anger over the mishandling of the rescue began with the families. At first critical of journalists for reporting all aboard were saved. Now seeking their help, one father of a student who died aboard the ferry handing a Korean broadcaster audio from his son's cell phone. He explains why. To tell you exactly he says 300 lives one ferry lost, I provided this wanting to release some truth to the public.
But it seems to reveal about the sinking not just heart breaking for this parent but also shocking for the nation. His son and other students repeatedly told to stay below decks. The voices heard -- the coast guard officers said they knew 400 to 500 passengers were on board. When they arrived the ship was listing so badly, they immediately sounded their alarm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When we got there we used our speakers to tell everyone to get off the boat and get into the water.
ROBERTSON: The captain and not most of the students responded. Still the subject of investigation. Nic Robertson, CNN, Jindo, South Korea.
COOPER: So hard to believe they were told to stay where they were all that time. Up next, breaking news, a powerful deadly storm system hitting the south. Tornadoes touching down in Mississippi and Alabama tonight after leaving a trail of destruction in Arkansas. The latest ahead.
COOPER: The tornado that hit Tupelo, Mississippi late today causing heavy damage, so far no fatalities. The death toll however rising across region after the second straight night of tornadoes, two people killed in Alabama. On top of 16 in Arkansas, Iowa and Oklahoma over the weekend. Bears repeating if you're nearly one of 50 million people in harm's way tonight, this is not over.
Jennifer Gray has been tracking the storm system and joins us now from our "Weather Center." So obviously fluid situation. What's the latest?
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Fluid. They are fierce. They have been deadly. We still have tornado warnings as we speak. Still a lot in Mississippi. A lot of focus in the past hour on Jackson, Mississippi. We still have that line of storms producing tornado warnings in effect for Newton and Scott Counties. Newton and Union, the cities are in the path of this. So if you are in these areas you definitely need to get to your safe place. This is just to the east of Jackson.
This storm, the past couple of minutes had a confirmed tornado on the ground and it is hovering right around the I-20 and Highway 80 running parallel to it. So this is a very dangerous cell that we want to be on the lookout for. Also a line of tornado warnings just outside of Birmingham, all of these are pulling to the east and northeast at 45 miles per hour. Still very dangerous.
Double springs all the way through Jasper and down the south north of Tuscaloosa. You all need to be on the lookout as well. These are very dangerous as well. As we look at the wider picture, Anderson, you can see anywhere from Huntsville all the way down through Jackson, all of these hot pink boxes, these are tornado warnings. Active tornado warnings. So this line will push to the east as we go through the overnight hours. Scary part is we're losing daylight. The sun is setting and that's when folks can be in real danger because they won't be able to see these storms coming. And so that's where a lot of times we lose the most lives, unfortunately. So make sure you have your weather radio, this is still that area that we're going to be watching the closest, Mississippi through Alabama, even portions of Tennessee.
One quick look at that severe weather map the storm prediction center highlighted this area including Tupelo and Jackson, the hot pink shaded area that is a high-risk of severe weather throughout the rest of this evening and into tonight very large tornadoes possible with very long tracks just like we saw in Arkansas, Anderson we're seeing that play out again in Mississippi and also Alabama tonight, unfortunately.
COOPER: All right, Jennifer Gray, thanks for that update. George Howell joins me now from Vilonia, Arkansas. George spoke to a resident who survived the storms. What did she tell you?
GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, you know, what was it like to be in a storm shelter. She said she heard the storm basically passing over. She saw all of this. What you see here, going over her head, she was down in this basement. When you look around here you see how strong the winds were, strong enough to knock over this heavy equipment, to push trucks and, you know, all this debris everywhere and when you look back there you see a community that really has been levelled.
In fact, you know, it happened just about this time yesterday, about 7:00. That's when the tornado came through. We know that at least ten people were killed in this county alone, Anderson, within three states, Arkansas, Iowa and Oklahoma a total of 16 people were killed.
COOPER: Just looks incredible. How large a swath of destruction is that?
HOWELL: Well, when you look at this, you know, if we can just kind of pan around and show this seems to be the path the tornado took. In fact going across the road over there, crossing through this community, levelling those homes and it goes for at least, from what we can tell, you know, maybe half a mile, you see all the trees where the branches have been stripped. The power of this storm, it's always so amazing to see.
And for the people who went through it, they tell me it was a scary experience, obviously. When they came out a lot of folks here they saw everything just turned upside down, homes destroyed, property everywhere.
COOPER: It's incredible. Only a couple of trees left standing. Is there more danger in that area now or is the worst past?
HOWELL: The worst is past here. As you heard Jennifer say just a few minutes ago it's to our east. Folks in Mississippi are dealing with it. The big concern here tonight is obviously to make sure there's no loitering, people going through, you know, taking things, looting. So, that's what we know there's a curfew here from 7:00 to 7:00, 7:00 a.m. So officials are out watching the roads. Also, now, cleanup will continue tomorrow. Clean up that could take at least two months to get all the debris out of here and several years, you know, before they can get back to where things were.
COOPER: A lot of hard days ahead. George Howell, appreciate it. Thanks very much. We'll continue to monitor developments throughout night. We'll be right back.
COOPER: That does it for us. Thanks for watching. We'll see you again at 11 p.m. Eastern another edition of AC360. "SMERCONISH" starts now.