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Sterling's Wife Wants to Keep Clippers; Flight 370 Families Demand Data; CNN Hero Teaches Ice Skating to Girls in Harlem; Do Religious Beliefs Cost Hosts Their Show?

Aired May 9, 2014 - 08:30   ET


DOUG ELDRIDGE, SPORTS AGENT: By definition, it's opinion-based. As we gradually make that transition to the court of law, we're really going to see the underlying complexities of interpreting the NBA constitution and the presumed legal opposition, Mr. Sterling's defense, as this moves forward.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Why isn't it as simple as Donald and/or Shelly Sterling saying, "Hey, you can't just kick us out. This is our private property"?

And why isn't it as simple as the NBA saying, "Yes, we can. You signed an agreement, and it's our membership."

You take the first part, Robin. Why, if the NBA says, "You signed a membership agreement. We don't want you as members anymore; you're out," why isn't it as simple as that?

ROBIN ABCARIAN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, because anybody in this country has recourse to the courts. And Donald Sterling, it looks like, because he does tend to have a litigious nature, and if he doesn't -- really, really does not want to go, he can file a lawsuit. He can ask for an injunction. He can do whatever he wants.

How the courts respond, of course, is entirely unclear. But if you look at the NBA constitution, it's very clear in that universe that the NBA commissioner and three-quarters of the team owners really can call the shots.

CUOMO: But the question is on what basis, right, Doug? I mean, it's vague. It contemplates you not running your business well. Although ironically this started as being about race, will it come down to being about money and the owners saying, "This guy is hurting my ability to make revenue in the league, so I'm going to get rid of him"?

ELDRIDGE: Right. Well, I would disagree with one point that Robin just made. And that is the fact that it's clear that they have the ability to exercise this discipline.

It's clear that, in Section 13 -- primarily Section 13-D, that a 75 percent majority of the owners could move to vote to force a sale. The question -- the question is the standard by which that must be measured.

Now when we talk about vague, we're talking about open language in the NBA constitution, a document to which all owners are a signatory. And the standard in that, the standard in Section 13-D, which could possibly be the hinge point here, the standard is whether or not Mr. Sterling breached his contractual obligation to the league and to its owners to comport himself in a specific manner, and that breach resulted in capital (ph) harm or damage to the brand.

Now, the reason that this keeps driving back to race is because, whether it sounds right or wrong, you can almost monazite the impact of racial statements. And here's what I mean.

When we take a look at the increasing global landscape of the NBA, the simplest way to put it is that it's becoming decreasingly Caucasian and English speaking. And that's a great thing. That's precisely what Commissioner Stern was trying to do. He was trying to globalize the game, to take it to the Asian markets, to take it to the South American markets. And it was a wild success.

As we talked about previously, NBA games are telecast in over 46 countries and 216 languages. Of the 41 million clicks that gets every day, the vast majority come outside of the United States.

So the only reason that's relevant is twofold. No. 1, to say that the new demographic of the NBA fan is increasingly more culturally diverse, that's No. 1.

And No. 2, if the future of the revenue stream of a league that's expected to do roughly $5.5 billion this season is skewing more culturally diverse, then obviously, those racially toned statements are going to have an impact.

CUOMO: Doug Eldridge...

ELDRIDGE: That's why this is going to be a slippery slope for the league to force this sale.

CUOMO: I definitely agree it's going to be harder than people think it is. Robin Abcarian, thank you very much for weighing in on this situation.

But it's interesting. Even you, Doug, you're laying out why it could be damaging to the league. They're going to have to prove that it is already damaging to the league to force the sale.

ELDRIDGE: Absolutely.

CUOMO: Thanks to both of you. We'll be -- there will be more on this, that's for sure. Hopefully, Mr. Sterling will speak for himself at some point -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a new plea from the families of Flight 30 -- of the passengers on Flight 370, demanding to see all of the data on the missing plane. What are they hoping to accomplish? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: Good to have you back was on NEW DAY. It's been more than two months since the disappearance of Flight 370.

Officials from Malaysian, China and Australia are now working to lay out a new search plan. The families, meanwhile, of the missing passengers, imagine this. They're still waiting for answers.

They've now sent an open letter to the leaders of the three countries, demanding the release of raw data that relates to the search. They want an independent review of all the information collected thus far.

Joining us, Miles O'Brien, CNN aviation analyst and science correspondent for PBS. I know you've had a chance, as we have here, Miles, to look over this letter. First off, initial thoughts. Is there something that you think could have been added or that was left out?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, initial thought, it's a shame that these families have to even write this letter. It's just -- it's just tragic. They've been tortured long enough. And it's high time to release all the data.

Now, what they're looking for here specifically is stuff that has nothing to do with any possible criminal investigation. It's simply where is the aircraft. And the nature of the pings, the mathematics behind the Inmarsat handshakes, all that sort of thing, has nothing to do with how the plane got to wherever it may be. So it is reasonable, and as a matter of fact, it is unconscionable for the authorities to hold this back at this point. It is time to throw out the rules and lay the cards on the table for these people.

PEREIRA: And it's really something that gets your goat, doesn't it, Miles? The fact that the requests are really reasonable. It's not like they're asking for things that are completely off the rails. They want information that -- data that they can look at and analyze and have independent people look at.

O'BRIEN: Absolutely. I mean, the convention in these investigations is to hold back information until they figure out the answers. Well, we're two months in, and they clearly are stymied. And these people deserve, are entitled to this information, in my opinion. Throw the rules out, put the cards on the table. Inmarsat, release all your data. Release it now. Let's hear those pings. Let's try to figure out about the Chinese pings which were kind of discounted. Maybe those -- there was something to those.

Can we hear from researchers who might have had these underwater pingers on marine mammals in that area? Can we figure out why it's 33 kilohertz instead of 37 kilohertz for the supposed pings for the black boxes? All these things could be -- need fresh air and fresh eyes. And I say open it up to the world, and let's outsource this thing. Because clearly, they are stymied.

PEREIRA: And that's the thing, and we talked about it at great length here. And I know it's something that you feel very strongly about, this notion of peer review. In any scientific and mathematical breakthrough, always the outcome is subjected to peer review. Why not? Why not? Is there any rational reason, Miles, in your estimation?

O'BRIEN: It doesn't seem rational to me at all. Inmarsat says, "Well, we peer reviewed it." And that's it. They don't open up the process. They say they had industry experts look at their information.

But there are a lot of people who, from the outside, have analyzed what Inmarsat has released, and there's quite a few holes in the data, apparently. But we don't know for sure, because they haven't released the full information on their methodology and all their data. So that's where we start because so much hinges on these Inmarsat handshakes, that communication between the aircraft and that satellite, and creating those circles on the earth where the plane might be. Let's get that refined, because it's quite possible they're in the right ocean.

PEREIRA: Sarah Bajc, partner of Philip Wood, one of the passengers on board, talking to us right here on NEW DAY, talking about the fact that these letters that they've sent, and there have been more than just this one, they're not getting any answers; they're not getting any response, even having those letters sent.

Then the notice of the hotel headquarters, the family headquarters being shut down, the insurance policies being paid off. Do you get a sense that there is a movement to sort of -- just sort of tampen [SIC] down all of this, to quiet it down, to push it away as if it's not happening?

O'BRIEN: Well, remember the -- remember, the Malaysian prime minister, I forget how long it was after the investigation, who just pronounced the plane in the ocean and everybody is deceased...


O'BRIEN: ... and go home, everybody; nothing to see here.

PEREIRA: Early on.

O'BRIEN: Yes, I mean, there's no amount of money in the world that is going to silence these families. They want to know where their loved ones are.

I always try to imagine if my son or daughter had been in that aircraft, how I would feel. It would behoove the investigators to start thinking that way.


O'BRIEN: A little bit of empathy would be a good thing.

PEREIRA: A great deal of empathy would be an even better thing. Miles O'Brien, always a pleasure to have you with us on NEW DAY. Thanks so much.

O'BRIEN: You're welcome.


BOLDUAN: I mean, it is May, rather, which means most everyone is gearing up for summer. But one group of girls in Harlem, New York, is focused on ice all year round, ice skating, that is. The costly sport is out of reach for many kids. But for one woman, she's made it her mission to help them succeed both on and off the ice. And that's why Sharon Cohen is a "CNN Hero."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love the crispy feeling of the air. The sound of my skate crunching on the ice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Skating relieved me from everything. I just want to fly.

SHARON COHEN, CNN HERO: I heard that there were some girls who wanted to figure skate in Harlem. Growing up I was a competitive figure skater, and I knew that skating wasn't a diverse sport. There was not access for kids in low-income communities.

They were so eager to get started. I began teaching them. And it was really inspiring to me.

Now we serve over 200 girls a year.

Look at those spins! You did it.

The best part about skating is that it gives you qualities you use the rest of your life. You gain discipline, perseverance. They fall down and they get back up and they learn they can do that in anything.

It's a building block.

Skating is the hook, but education comes first. Before they even get on the ice, they have to get their homework done. They get tutoring a minimum of three afternoons a week.


COHEN: We want girls who believe and know they can do anything they put their hearts and minds to.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not all about skating. Ms. Sharon is teaching us to be the best we can be.


BOLDUAN: That is a beautiful thing, a beautiful thing.

CUOMO: All right. Let's take a quick break here on NEW DAY. When we come back, a provocative question. Is society punishing people too much for what they say? Two brothers who wanted to build houses for those who need them now won't get to do it, at least on TV. And the reason why is raising eyebrows. We'll tell you.


CUOMO: "Keep your conservative religious ideas to yourself." That's what HGTV basically just said when it killed a new series called "Flip It Forward" before it even aired. The schtick, twin brothers David and Jason Benham -- there they are showing their cross fit prowess -- helping poor families get their dream home.

But this week HGTV tweeted that they're not moving forward with the show after the Web site Right Wing Watch posted an article labeling David, one of the brothers as a, quote, "anti-gay, anti-choice extremist". Was this fair? Was this right? PC gone far?

To discuss, branding and social media consultant Peter Shankman and "News Day" columnist Ellis Henican.

Ellis Henican -- HGTV, they can do a series with whomever they want. Was this the right move?

ELLIS HENICAN, "NEWS DAY" COLUMNIST: Absolutely, they have the right. But do we really need to silence everyone who has conservative social views -- right? They can't even have home improvement shows. It isn't like these guys came out against building code inspections or in favor of purple wallpaper. I mean this is a home repair show. Lighten up a little bit, please.

CUOMO: Is this the left gone awry?

PETER SHANKMAN, BRANDING AND SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT: NO, this is HGTV scared because they saw what happened with Paula Deen and they saw what happened with "Duck Dynasty". And this is a CYA move to make sure that this doesn't come back to bite them. Because at the end of the day, they have the right to say whatever they want, both the host and HGTV but no one guarantees anyone a show and no one guarantees anyone advertisers.

They were afraid, hey, you know what, HGTV has a lot of advertisers that cater to the gay and lesbian community, that cater to all sorts of people on both coasts, as it were. And to put these people on, it would just be a black cloud hanging over their head. They just didn't want to deal with it.

CUOMO: They're so afraid. They're afraid. Does that make it OK.


HENICAN: Listen, Do they have a legal right? Yes. Should we be cheering it? No. We should not. We ought to be big enough people that we can see people who we don't agree with. Let them fix their houses, help the nice. What are we scared of?

SHANKMAN: I agree they're -- I agree they were scared.

HENICAN: What are we scared?

SHANKMAN: What they're scared of is losing money. This is an advertising place. They lose their advertisers, there's no network.

CUOMO: How do you know that like Chik-Fil-A won't come in and buy up all the spots on the series?

SHANKMAN: Exactly.

HENICAN: You know what -- listen, listen, I don't happen to embrace their social views. I have different feelings on their (inaudible). But I'm willing to watch somebody help some nice little family going to --


HENICAN: You got to admit they handled this pretty classic, right.

SHANKMAN: The way they handled as a sort of #sorrynotsorry. You know, they said very nicely. They didn't come out, they didn't argue and I guarantee you they will get -- they'll get picked up somewhere. But right now HGTV is sitting there and they look at their advertisers and they go we can't afford to lose big names who are going to walk away especially think what happened with Ellen and with Sears. It's very -- it's a risky slope. It's a risky slope.

HENICAN: But you know what though --

CUOMO: Hold on a second. Hold on a second. You're making -- you can't make both sides of the point. You're saying they're right to do it because they're afraid they're going to lose money. But then you say it's a slippery slope. Let's talk about --


HENICAN: It's a bad slope. First of all, these guys are not Paula Deen -- right. They're not Phil Robertson. I mean those were horrible slurs, they were mean. These are guys who have views that maybe we don't agree with but they don't have to be shut out. The world is worst --

CUOMO: There are a lot of people who will be very offended by what they say is true in the name of religion. And a lot of religious people would argue with them that they're just being extreme in their own right. But is it about the debate? I thought that's what we're about here. Is that you get to have the debate, you get to have the ideas. We don't chill your ability to make --


SHANKMAN: You don't. But you also don't guarantee anyone a show. At the end of the day, this has to come down to -- we're building homes.

CUOMO: But where's the line? Where's the line?

HENICAN: I know where the line is. CUOMO: Where is the line, Ellis?

HENICAN: We do not want ideological hit squads going around and --

CUOMO: Ideological hit squads. That's what you are Shankman.

HENICAN: You're digging through old Google searches and seeing if somebody said something bad.


SHANKMAN: At the end of the day, it's two different things. If they were coming out against purple wallpaper, it would make for a better show. It's something completely unrelated to what they're doing.

What happened to "I will die for your right to believe what you believe in"?

SHANKMAN: You can but you don't have to die for the right to have a show. No one guarantees you the right to have a show.

CUOMO: Now you have David Sterling (SIC), they're going to take his team. They're going to his property from him because they don't like what he says and what he thinks.

Now you can't have a show --

SHANKMAN: You know it all comes down to money.

CUOMO: -- because we don't like what you say, what you think.

SHANKMAN: If people -- if the advertisers are going to pull their sponsorship, it comes down to money. HGTV is sitting there afraid that they will lose sponsors and they'll lose millions of dollars in revenue. And at the end of the day, that's more important than this thing -- that's what keep things going.

CUOMO: Hold on. Shankman is convincing. I now turn on you, Ellis.


CUOMO: No, hold on. Before you answer -- I want to ask you the question. I'm going to turn on you and here's why.

HENICAN: I don't think he was so convincing, by the way.

CUOMO: It was something about the way he was looking at me. Here is the question. If you want to say things, we do not judge the marketplace of ideas, right? That's the beautiful (inaudible) understanding of the First Amendment that we have here. You can't just say anything you want to say it's First Amendment anymore if it's offensive. If it does not meet with who we are as a people, you don't get the same protection that everybody else does.

We're going to put restrictions on you because it's hateful. It's not just your religion. Your religion is hate. If fundamentally what you're saying all these people are going to hell fundamentally if that's your belief. So you don't get the same protection as someone who says I like certain things more than others. You don't get the same protection.

HENICAN: First of all, this is not a First Amendment piece. We often see that. There is no government action here. This is a private company making a decision --

CUOMO: But it's an extension of the right --

HENICAN: -- that they have a right to make. But what we don't want, it seems to me, is a culture that is so jumpy, so nervous, so worried, Peter, about what everybody might think that all we can have is one orthodox expression -- that's a bad word. And we should fight it when we see it.

CUOMO: But we want to embrace diversity.


SHANKMAN: But it's also not what everyone thinks. It's what the collection of advertisers think who pay the bills.

HENICAN: But guys part of that diversity has to be listening to people who say things that we don't agree with.

CUOMO: That's true. You're a social architect. You want only the views you like.

SHANKMAN: That's not --


CUOMO: Let's pick one and anybody who is --


SHANKMAN: Tell me why -- is HGTV there to make nice houses or HGTV has to make money?

CUOMO: They're there to make money and they're afraid of people like you who are --

SHANKMAN: They're afraid of advertisers who are going to will walk away. Quite frankly, if it was the complete opposite, if it was a show that degraded straight marriage or whatever it was, they would lose advertisers as well. This is not an article about gay or straight or advertisers are pro-life. This is about money.

And if you are going to just come out and say something that is against a big section of the population, love it or hate it, you're going to not have that right to give that talk, to get that show, to do whatever. It's not about free speech.

(CROSSTALK) HENICAN: When we succeed, we drive all that out of the landscape, we'll be worst off. We'll be worst off. Life's more interesting this way. Who would we argue with?

CUOMO: You know what we're watching in action. Peter, Ellis you know what we're watching in action? Who we want to be as a people -- that's what's going on.

HENICAN: Yes, exactly.

CUOMO: This is a culture war, not a legal war.

Kate over to you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, a heartwarming story that will start your NEW DAY off just right. The lengths one officer goes to help a young man in need. It's "The Good Stuff", and it's coming up.


CUOMO: All right. We've got "The Good Stuff" for you in just a moment. But I've noticed that Indra is sitting all the way over there on the couch by herself. We can't let her be by herself on a Friday so let's -- to the couch.


CUOMO: It's now time for "The Good Stuff". In today's edition Sumter, South Carolina police officer Gaetano Acerra responds to a call, domestic call. A 13-year-old kid arguing with his mom wants to leave home -- nothing unusual there. Take a listen.


GAETANO ACERRA, POLICE OFFICER: I said, "You have it good, you have a roof over your head." I told him I would try to help him out.


CUOMO: So what does that mean? Help out, protect and serve -- right. The officer notices that Cameron Simmons didn't really have a bed or any bedroom furniture. He had a reason to be upset. Take a listen.


ACERRA: My heart went out for him. I thought with the little things that he needed, I could give him to make him a happier kid.


CUOMO: That's the serve part. A few weeks later, Officer Acerra showed up with a truck load of stuff.


ACERRA: Bed, TV, a desk, chair, a WII game system that somebody donated to me because of the story that I told them. I didn't do this for publicity or to get people to notice me. I did it because I could and it was the right thing to do. I think people should do things like this.


CUOMO: Any chance to play the WII is worth taking it. That's why the officer really did it. No, look. He did something we want to see people do all the time.

PEREIRA: Great message for that kid.

CUOMO: Take an opportunity to just help somebody if you can. He did what he could do.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Like the good old days, right, help your neighbors.

PEREIRA: And let that kid be seen, too -- right.

BOLDUAN: A mean game of tennis on the WII.

CUOMO: Always doubles. So you know, it also shows, you know, police it's always protect and serve. Anyway, hope you have a great weekend. To all the mothers out there, you deserve it -- every day, not just this weekend but enjoy your special day.

Let's get you to the "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello. To all the mothers in your life Carol, we hug them.

CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Oh absolutely. Happy Mother's Day everyone but especially my mom.

CUOMO: Your mama -- no kids.