Return to Transcripts main page


Donald Sterling Speaks Out; NFL Drafts Gay Player; Player's Kiss with Boyfriend Causes Stir

Aired May 12, 2014 - 22:00   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: This is a CNN special report. I'm Don Lemon.

We have a great show for you tonight. Your reaction is pouring in to Anderson Cooper's explosive interview with Donald Sterling. What does he have against Magic Johnson? Well, Sterling thinks he is still beloved by his team and he thinks the controversy over his racist remarks is the media's fault.


DONALD STERLING, OWNER, LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS: Elgin Baylor has nothing to do with -- with -- what the things I said 20 years later.


D. STERLING: What did it have to do?

COOPER: Well, Elgin Baylor made a claim that you had a plantation mentality.

D. STERLING: Well...

COOPER: And then, now, in this thing, you're saying you feed these guys who...

D. STERLING: I think you have more of a plantation mentality than I do.


LEMON: This hour, reaction from my team of experts and you.

And the kiss seen around the world. Michael Sam becomes the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL. His celebratory kiss sparks emotion, judgment and more. Be honest, though. Did it catch you off- guard?

Plus, another private moment caught on tape and leaked to the public, it looked to be Jay-Z, Beyonce, and her sister in a scuffle, the sister pummeling Jay-Z. What exactly happened inside this elevator?

But let us begin tonight with Donald Sterling and Michael Sam, two men in the spotlight bringing focus to issues of race, bigotry and tolerance or perhaps intolerance, but in very different ways, of course. Donald Sterling's words caught on tape just a few weeks ago revealed the depths of his racism and tonight, as you will hear, he didn't help his own case. Michael Sam had an emotional moment that was months in the making, every single he became the first openly gay NFL prospect. He kissed his boyfriend live on national television on a sports channel, no less, relieved that his decision to be himself didn't cost him his career.

Did that kiss further tolerance or widen the divide? Not everyone was on board, including some professional athletes who voiced their disgust. At least two of them were black men, who should know how bigotry and discrimination feel.

So, here's the question. The same voices who vehemently denounced Donald Sterling, where are they in support of Michael Sam?

I want to bring in my guests now.

Cedric Maxwell is a former NBA player who played for Sterling's Clippers. He is now a sports radio analyst the Sports Hub in Boston. Kenneth Shropshire, sports attorney and director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, Jay Thomas, an Emmy Award-winning actor and host of Sirius Radio -- on Sirius Radio. And here next to me in the hot seat is Mel Robbins, commentator and legal analyst here on CNN.

So, Mel, again, you're in the hot seat tonight. You heard the apology from Donald Sterling.


LEMON: And yet he says is isn't a racist. Do you find him sincere?


ROBBINS: Well, his wife claims that he...


ROBBINS: I almost spit on you, I was like laughing so hard. His wife says that he has dementia. I think he's living in another dimension.

LEMON: Possibly has dementia.

ROBBINS: Well, I mean, come on.

When you watch this interview -- funny thing, Don. Right after Anderson's show was done, he walked out of the studio and I was standing there and had a chance to talk to him for a second.

And what was interesting is, I said to him, I said, Anderson, I guarantee you when you walk into work tomorrow, there is going to be a huge bouquet of flowers from Adam Silver, because all he needs to do is hit play on that thing and then do an up-and-down vote. It's crazy.

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Hit play on that.


LEMON: Well, let's look at more. Let's look at more, because he did call Anderson a racist. Watch.


D. STERLING: I think you have more of a plantation mentality than I do.

You know what? And I think you're more of a racist than I am.

COOPER: How so?

D. STERLING: Because I'm not a racist, and I have never been a racist, and I will never be a racist.

I don't know what that means to have a mentality. You're asking me about questions. What do you mean a mentality?


COOPER: Well, to have a plantation mentality is to feel like you own these guys, they are working for you.

D. STERLING: Well, do I -- do I own them?

COOPER: I don't know.

D. STERLING: My players earn $100 million a year. Do I own them?


LEMON: He also says -- quote -- "Twenty-five percent," Cedric, "25 percent of my whole gang are black people, and I love them."

CEDRIC MAXWELL, FORMER NBA PLAYER: It's absolutely absurd when you think about Donald Sterling said.

He has dug the biggest whole I have ever seen a dude do.


MAXWELL: And if you have any sympathy at all, that has gone away, because it is absolutely stupid when you listen to the things he said.

Over and over again, he keeps talking about black people and then he evokes Magic Johnson, of all things? This is the last place he wanted to -- his attorneys must be cringing right now. Maybe he is just playing the stupid card, and then that gives him right that everybody to have sympathy for him.

LEMON: OK. Stand by. Let's listen to what he said about Magic Johnson to Anderson. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

D. STERLING: Well, what kind of a guy goes to every city, he has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV and -- is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background.

But what does he do for the black people? Doesn't do anything.


LEMON: Jay, whoever is advising should be fired.


LEMON: And if no one is advising him, he needs to hire someone to do it.

THOMAS: Cornbread.


MAXWELL: How you doing, buddy?

THOMAS: Hey, man. I'm good.

MAXWELL: I can't believe it, Jay. We are back together again talking about this.

LEMON: I knew that would happen. But, Jay, what do you make of that?


THOMAS: You know what?

When I started as a basketball announcer, sports announcer, which I was -- I didn't know anything about anything. Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell was the leader of the greatest ever, the UNCC Charlotte basketball team. So that's how we know each other.

First of all, I think Donald Sterling ought to go to jail for that dye job alone. That is the worst hair that I have ever seen.


THOMAS: He's an old fart. But he's a billionaire. And everybody here knows how insulated people.


THOMAS: And, so, believe it or not, that's just part of his insulation. I see it in Hollywood all the time.

People that are not said no to or they are right all the time -- he has no idea. He has not reality. And that's what you're seeing, lack of reality. (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Is it more of a question of, what's the word I'm looking for, entitlement than it is racism? Or is it a combination of both these things?

ROBBINS: I think what he was talking was more like there's a bubble around the guy, Don.


THOMAS: Yes, absolutely.

Totally entitled. In all of our lives, when we have been doing well, we have this bubble around us. My bubble has been gone for a long time. So, I'm told constantly what I'm really like. But there was a time when I could do no wrong and people were saying yes to me and stuff.

And, yes, those are times when you forget -- you forget what real life is like and you say ridiculous things, and the next thing you know you are held up for what you have said.

LEMON: So, Ken, Sterling went on to make some pretty inflammatory statements about African-Americans. Watch this.


D. STERLING: That's one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people. And some of the African- Americans -- maybe I will get in trouble again -- they don't want to help anybody.

What has Magic Johnson really done for children's hospital, which kids are lying in the hallways? They are sick. They need a bed.


LEMON: Ken, the Magic Johnson Foundation has done -- has raised millions of dollars for all types of causes. And Sterling is Jewish. Do you think Sterling realizes how offensive his comments are? He's part of a discriminated class as well.


I grew up in the Crenshaw district of L.A., where Magic has done some wonderful work. It is just appalling that this gentleman, Donald Sterling, would turn this into a personal attack on a man who has done so much great stuff and come so far. You think of the comments on HIV.

In 1991, companies pulled away from Magic related to that issue.

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: And he didn't have to reveal that he was HIV-positive. He didn't have to reveal that to anyone.

SHROPSHIRE: Exactly. And so if anything with Sterling, maybe he' in the 1990s, if we -- I believe he is back further than that. But he in the frame of mind that there is some negative kind of identification that comes about because the man is HIV-positive.

I don't think -- he's added the sexism, the racism and now we this discrimination against people because they are HIV-positive.

LEMON: Yes. It's kind of crazy.

MAXWELL: You know, I hated Magic. I hated Magic as a basketball player. But I tell you what. As a black man, I respect him and I really appreciate everything he's done.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you for saying that.

All right, coming up, Donald Sterling may be gearing up for a war with the NBA, but he may have other opponents to worry about, like his estranged wife. That's next.


LEMON: Now with my expert guests reacting to Donald Sterling's interview with Anderson Cooper.

And, first off, I want to ask you, Ken, do you get the impression that Donald Sterling will bow out quietly if the owners vote him out?

SHROPSHIRE: He gave something to indicate that today.

I did not have an impression until he made that brief comment that it didn't make sense for this kind of argument to go back and for both parties to spend a lot of money. So, I think there is a greater chance than there was.

I think the real confusion will come in between the spouses, the two Sterlings. That may be where the real battle begins and then what rights she may assert.

LEMON: Yes, because the wife is saying -- here's what I think. I think he's trying to play the good cop and he's trying to get his reputation restored and repaired in the public perception, and she's out there going, this is my team.

ROBBINS: Well, I think she's playing a different game altogether. See, everybody thinks she is fighting for the basketball court

I think she is gearing up for divorce court.

LEMON: Right.

ROBBINS: Because every time somebody says she wasn't responsible, he was, she has now got a bigger argument in divorce court. LEMON: All right, stand by.

I want to take a look at what Sterling said about the media. Watch this.


D. STERLING: The players don't hate me. The sponsors don't hate me.

COOPER: You don't believe the players...

D. STERLING: The fans don't hate me. The media hates. The media -- it's all the media pushing it. I mean...

COOPER: You really -- honestly, you really believe that it's just the media?

D. STERLING: I believe it 100 percent. I believe it 100 percent.

People call me by the thousands and give me support.

COOPER: You don't think players...


D. STERLING: They don't say I should have said that.



ROBBINS: Pick your job.


ROBBINS: Well, actually, the media loves him. This is a story like Rob Ford.

Jay, go ahead.

THOMAS: Let me say that, with all this discrimination and who we can and can't say things about -- and I love making fun of everybody.

I think it's wonderful that we can still make fun of old, rich, stupid white guys, and I hope that never dies. And I hope that we will always have that right. And I will go to my grave defending that right.


THOMAS: He's an idiot, a complete idiot. His wife is an idiot.

If you read the court records -- these are in court records -- when he had dates with some of these young girls, he would have date at the house with the wife. And they would all go to the movies together and he would hold hands with the girlfriend while he was still married. I mean, these are nutcases. Why does God give these kinds of people a lot of money? That's what I like to know. I'm beseeching God. OK? Why? Why, God? Why? Why?


THOMAS: If I held hands, if my wife saw me helping an old lady across the street, we're in divorce court the next day. We're finished.

LEMON: They do have a very interesting relationship.

ROBBINS: No, they have a relationship based on money, Don.


ROBBINS: She said to Barbara Walters she wanted to divorce him 20 years ago and hasn't because of the money.

LEMON: Yes, unconventional, to say the least.

In Anderson's interview, Sterling apologized to his 29 partners in the league, the other owners. He said -- even said some of them support him.

We obviously haven't heard that. Did get the impression at all, Cedric, that he has a shot of maintaining ownership of this team?

MAXWELL: Like a snowball in hell.

There is no way in the world that he gets in that position of absolutely getting anyone to support him. That is political suicide right now. Think of it. If you are an owner of an NBA team and you all of a sudden side with Donald Sterling, and people find out about it, how are you going to tell your players? How are you going to explain this to anybody who really -- really thinks that you are worth anything?

LEMON: OK. So let's get back to the idea again, because I think -- I think he -- we will talk about that after this.

Anderson pressed him on the idea that Sterling believes his team loves him. Listen again.


COOPER: You don't think the players don't like you? When the Clippers, when your team took off -- reversed their...


D. STERLING: Why wouldn't they like me, when I'm respectful and I treat them with respect?

COOPER: When they reversed their jerseys and didn't wear the name and they wore black socks?

D. STERLING: Well, if one does it, then the others have to do it.

COOPER: You think it was just pressure?

D. STERLING: Well, what do you think? Do you think they all are going to walk off the team? They're all going to -- what, they're all -- I mean, can any of us just stop working?

We all have to work. We all have to earn a living. We all have bills. We may work for an employer we don't love. I contend that they love me.

COOPER: You think they still love you?



LEMON: And he probably thought that, by doing this interview, people were going to go, oh, my gosh, he's a misunderstood man, and that's -- we're sitting here. Most people are sitting here going, oh, my gosh, and kind of laughing at him.

But if he continues on in this, which appears to be delusional, quite honestly, in this vein, if this continues on here and he's still involved with the team and this drags out, what happens?

I guess that's a good question for you, Mr. Shropshire, or Jay, whoever -- who wants to jump in?


THOMAS: Maybe Cedric -- Cedric can say something to this. From what I'm hearing Doc Rivers say, it sounds like Doc Rivers, if he continues to be the owner, I don't think Doc Rivers would sign on for next year.


LEMON: Doc Rivers is the key here. He is really holding the Clippers together and the league.

Go ahead.


MAXWELL: Doc is doing a great job of holding everything together right now. He is absolutely doing a great job of holding everything together.

I love what Doc Rivers is doing. One thing that is happening right now with Doc Rivers, make a point about it. Doc Rivers has to be on board and has to say the right things to keep all these players together.

LEMON: And, Ken, I hear you mentioning Dick Parsons, who was the former CEO of Time Warner, right? And he -- today, during his press conference, I was like, finally, daddy's home. Something's going to happen. I'm not being sexist, by the way. Or mommy's home.


ROBBINS: I didn't take it that way. You're fine. You're fine.

LEMON: But he's in control. And he said we need to -- we just want to keep the boat moving. I want to turn the flame down, and not up. And that's why I'm here. And as far as dealing with who is going to own the team, that's really going to be the NBA commissioner, and not me.


SHROPSHIRE: The aura of leadership, the business presence, it was a pretty powerful moment.

That -- apart from the Donald Sterling kind of tomfoolery that took place today, the Dick Parsons moment was very strong in terms of the ship's going to be OK if we do the right thing with Donald Sterling.

LEMON: Yes. And he's -- my favorite part of that press conference was, it took him along or why did it take him so long?

Yes. All right, coming up, Donald Sterling faces a legal battle vs. the NBA, but it may be a two-front war. He may also be fighting his own wife. More on that next.


LEMON: Welcome back everyone. We will get back to our panel in just a moment.

But, first, I want to tell you about a legal war brewing between Donald Sterling and the NBA. And Donald Sterling may also be battling his own wife.

Here's CNN's Jean Casarez.


D. STERLING: It's a terrible mistake, and I will never do it again.

SHELLY STERLING, WIFE OF DONALD STERLING: I don't love him. I pity him and I feel sorry for him.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is it the battle of the Sterlings as they battle the NBA.

Donald Sterling's emotional apology...

D. STERLING: I'm a good member who made a mistake, and I'm apologizing and I'm asking for forgiveness.

CASAREZ: ... vs. his estranged wife's legal claim to the team.

S. STERLING: I'm fighting for my 50 percent.

CASAREZ: The NBA's position so far, like it or not, the Sterlings are in this together. Under the NBA constitution, if a controlling owner's interest is terminated by a three-quarter vote, all other team owners' interests are automatically terminated as well.

But Shelly's attorneys, Pierce O'Donnell, says they do not accept that argument. "We do not agree with the league's self-serving interpretation of its constitution, its application to Shelly Sterling."

One factor that could work in Shelly Sterling's favor, attorney John Olivieri says her position is even stronger if she did not sign the league papers to purchase the team back in 1981.

JOHN OLIVIERI, ATTORNEY: If Donald was the only signer and it's a community property interest, Shelly could say, that's great. You signed it. It says what it says, but I didn't sign it.

CASAREZ: Another shot fired by Shelly Sterling this weekend could actually help Donald's case against the NBA.

S. STERLING: He saw the tape and he said, "I don't remember saying that." That's when I thought he has dementia.

CASAREZ (on camera): How could this be used in a legal argument first by Donald Sterling himself?

OLIVIERI: Donald could say, if he is in fact suffering from diminished capacity, that he just didn't have the capacity to make the league look bad.

CASAREZ (voice-over): For now, the team is being run by Dick Parsons.

RICHARD PARSONS, CEO, L.A. CLIPPERS: A prolonged legal battle is in no one's interests, literally no one, certainly not in the league interests.

CASAREZ: Despite that, Donald Sterling wants his team back.

D. STERLING: They are Clippers. And they are mine, and I'm theirs. That's how I feel.

I would do anything for them. I made a mistake. I hope it's in their heart to forgive me for that mistake.

CASAREZ: Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.


LEMON: All right, Jean, back now with my panel of experts. They are answering your questions now. And we're going to a little bit hear, if your eyes don't roll back in your head. And someone is going to have to help you get them out. (LAUGHTER)


ROBBINS: Now you know what my kids see all the time.

LEMON: I know it's incredulous, but I want you to listen, because he says he really wants -- he just wants to be forgiven. Listen.


D. STERLING: They are Clippers. And they are mine, and I'm theirs. That's how I feel.

I would do anything for them. I made a mistake. I hope it's in their heart to forgive me for that mistake.

I don't know why the girl had me say those things.

COOPER: You're saying you were set up.

D. STERLING: Well, yes. I was baited. I mean, that's not the way I talk.


LEMON: Can you be set up and say things that you don't feel, if it's not in your heart?


It's interesting. It's everybody else's fault but his. It's the media's fault. It's V. Stiviano's fault. What we just heard sounded like the lyrics from a horrible country music song, for crying out loud.

I mean, this is a guy who lives in a bubble and doesn't think that what he did was wrong and doesn't understand why does the world -- why, Don, why does the world hate little old me? I'm a nice guy. I love my players. I have done so much for those people in L.A.


LEMON: If you or anyone goaded me, someone I was dating, into, I would never say, don't bring white people around. That would -- I would never think of that.


ROBBINS: Yes, but he doesn't understand what he did was wrong. He can't get this.

See, why he was going on and on about Magic Johnson, Don, is because he is ruminating. He can't string a clear sentence together. He is basically saying, oh, Magic Johnson, Magic Johnson's going to buy my team. Why is he a good guy? Why is he better than me? What has he done?


LEMON: But he said he was jealous. He said, I didn't want other black guys sleeping -- and my first thought was, well, you're not black, so it's not other black guys.


ROBBINS: Is she really sleeping with him? When you watch that, that's a whole -- I don't want to even think about that, for crying out loud.


LEMON: Go quickly, because I want to get the questions in.

THOMAS: You know what?

The only excuse he could have is if she were naked. And she wasn't. That would make you say anything. And the second thing is, with he and his wife, the movie ought to be titled, "Greedy and Greedier."

They are two evil old white people, and I'm going to discriminate against them the rest of my life.


LEMON: All right.

Well, this is from -- Cedric, we have a tweet from Daryl.

Daryl says: "Donald Sterling deserves forgiveness. However, that does not mean he deserves to own an NBA team."

Does he deserve forgiveness? Of course, everyone deserves forgiveness.


ROBBINS: This isn't a Catholic Church, Don.

MAXWELL: I think everybody -- everybody does. Everybody does at some point deserve some kind of forgiveness.

LEMON: Right.

MAXWELL: In his case, he keeps digging a deeper and deeper hole.

So, you -- if you want to forgive him, you can't do it because every time he puts his foot back in his mouth, the wrong things come out. So, I can't forgive him.


LEMON: Every time he opens his mouth, the wrong thing comes out. ROBBINS: Right.

MAXWELL: Absolutely. Absolutely.

LEMON: OK. This is for Ken. Let me make sure -- to ken. This tweet is from Georgia.

Where is -- OK, Georgia says, where is it? "We must consider Donald Sterling has early undiagnosed dementia, clear signs, losing his inhibitions and cognition control."

And then it has -- do you think -- do agree with that, Ken?

SHROPSHIRE: Oh, I don't know. I'm certainly not a medical professional.

But even with that, that's yet another reason that the league could move away from him as an owner. And the end of the story is, this may cost some money or whatever it may be, but a court is not going to say, you must keep this man as your partner. I mean, it just doesn't make any sense.

LEMON: OK. All right. Well, thank you, guys. I appreciate it, your very thoughtful conversation on this particular matter.

But I want you to all stay around, because coming up, a young man celebrates his entry into the NFL with his friends, his family, and a kiss from his loved one. It doesn't sound controversial, or is it? Because his loved one is another man.

We will talk about that next.


LEMON: After years of playing football at every level from pee-wee to the University of Missouri, Michael Sam's dreams of playing in the NFL were realized this weekend when he received a phone call from the St. Louis Rams. Here's what happened.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the moment where Michael Sam got the news he is going to be a member of the St. Louis Rams.


LEMON: A euphoric moment and a celebratory kiss with his boyfriend, and now a subsequent firestorm.

Joining me now is Howard Bragman. He is Michael Sam's publicist and vice chairman of Mel Robbins is with me, as well.

Hello, Howard. Thank you for joining us. Listen, you really know this young man well. You have guided him through this process. How long have you been working with Michael Sam since before the draft? HOWARD BRAGMAN, MICHAEL SAM'S PUBLICIST: About three months. We started our relationship in February. And he stayed at my house and as has Vito. So I know them fairly very well.

LEMON: What did you think of the reaction to this kiss, this moment on television?

BRAGMAN: Kind of I didn't expect it. It was -- a lot of people said we scripted it. I promise you it wasn't. It was a spontaneous moment. And I thought it was wonderful. And mostly, I'm getting positive reactions to it. And there's a few people that aren't as comfortable with it.

LEMON: So for people who say, listen, this moment was about Michael Sam, not about his boyfriend, and that kiss made the moment about his -- you know, his relationship rather than just about him, what do you say?

BRAGMAN: You know, there's a very famous moment, a picture of A.J. McCarron kissing his girlfriend. Nobody criticized A.J. McCarron for kissing his girlfriend. In fact, I think his girlfriend's a model and got a boost in her career from it.

So part of life, part of celebrating the most important moment in your life is celebrating with the people you love. And that was authentic. That's what happened.

LEMON: Obviously, Michael Sam -- and listen, I don't want to just assume this -- he was worried that coming out would affect his career, right, Howard?

BRAGMAN: Well, we knew it was a possibility. But the truth is, Michael wasn't in the closet. When we talk about Michael Sam coming out, his team knew; the media knew. Whether or not Michael Sam went to the media and said, "I'm a gay man," it was going to be out before the draft.

LEMON: He just didn't talk about it in the media, right? He didn't talk about it publicly. He didn't -- right? He was out among his friends.

BRAGMAN: Not until -- not until March. Not until March.

LEMON: So...

BRAGMAN: And it became clear -- go ahead.

LEMON: Tell us -- tell us the back story here, though, Howard. Because I think that you told me -- I spoke with you earlier today, and you said basically people think this moment was scripted. But he was upstairs, and he thought his prospects of being drafted were over. And he was inconsolable, because he thought his career was over.

BRAGMAN: Yes. Up until about probably six or seven minutes before that was shot, we were pretty convinced that he was going to go the free agent route, that he wasn't going to be drafted. And then all of a sudden the call came in from St. Louis, and everything changed. And we rushed Michael downstairs, and Michael and Vito came down. And that call came, and it was one of the most beautiful, genuine moments I've ever seen. I -- I kind of burst into tears myself.


BRAGMAN: Because history was being made.

LEMON: OK. I'm going to tell what my reaction was. But first I want to bring in my panel. Thank you, Howard. I want you to stay around. I want to bring my panel of expert guests in now.

Also joining me is Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES."

OK, so I want to go through my panelists now and ask each of you, in the spirit of having an open and honest discussion, what was your gut reaction when you first saw this kiss? And tell me quickly. What was your gut reaction?

ROBBINS: That it was pretty startling in terms of how authentic it was. And for me, Don, the thing that was amazing is that, typically, when people see gay men and women expressing themselves, it's on Bravo or it's on HGTV. So for this to take place in the context where people normally don't see it is, I think, what made it so startling for a lot of people.

LEMON: All right. Cedric, what was your initial reaction, honestly?

MAXWELL: Well, I was really surprised. And I was surprised, and I was somewhat shocked. But tell you what: shame on me for feeling that way.


MAXWELL: Because as the gentleman said before, if it had been a man and a woman it was no problem at all.

I think how I feel about it, really, is that because we're professional athletes, we have a sanctuary, and that sanctuary is one that we look at and say, "Well, this won't happen. We won't have a man kissing a man on TV if he's playing football." But that has to go away.

So shame on me and shame on everybody else who thinks that way anymore.

LEMON: OK. I want to make sure I get everybody in. Kenneth, quickly, what did you think initially?

SHROPSHIRE: Youthful exuberant, honest moment. This is a guy who had gone through a lot. So it just looked like this was the excitement of the draft actually happening for him, after it almost not happening.

LEMON: Jay Thomas?

THOMAS: If that's what you're going to do the first day, you had better with ready to knock the cold crap out of somebody the first day of practice. And I said, "This guy is a tough son of a bitch, and he is going to speak on the field and then kiss a man in the parking lot." Congratulations. I love trouble. I love this guy.

LEMON: Brian Stelter.

BRIAN STELTER, HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": My reaction? It's about time.

LEMON: Yes. I have to tell you my reaction. And I am a gay man. I was startled. Because I had never seen two men kiss on television in that particular situation, and I was with other -- I was with other straight people, my straight friends, and we were watching. And we all just kind of looked at each other and were like, wow, what just happened?

So I was startled. It took me aback, and I went OK, and I started thinking about all these things, you know, what I said about it's not about his boyfriend; it's about him.


LEMON: And I wondered if I had a bit of bias. But then quickly I went, "You know what? It's probably guilt."

ROBBINS: Well, there is an intimacy there.

LEMON: I wondered if it was -- if it was appropriate -- right, if it was appropriate.

ROBBINS: But you know why? He started like this, Don.


ROBBINS: He was convulsing.


ROBBINS: He was crying so hard, that when he came up, the embrace was so intense.

LEMON: Brian.

STELTER: And I interviewed Robin Roberts today for my program this weekend. She came out a few months ago. She speaks openly about her girlfriend now. What she said to me what was Michael Sam supposed to do? Shake his boyfriend's hand?

LEMON: Right.

STELTER: It was the most natural reaction.

LEMON: I agree, because after I thought about it, I'm like, "You know what?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's right.

LEMON: That's right. If you -- if you're in the moment, right, people kiss their girlfriends and their boyfriends all the time.

But here's the thing, Howard, that is so important that people should realize. A lot of people are not accepting gay people who come out and are not accepted by their families. This is his family. That young man is his family, and the person who's closest to him. And that's who I would want to kiss.

Howard, go ahead.

BRAGMAN: You know, if you know anything about Michael's back story, you'll know that he does not have a wonderful relationship with his family. His family is kind of hard-scrabble Texas family. A couple siblings in jail, a couple killed.

Michael really brought himself up almost by himself out of the ashes to become the man he's become, which is pretty incredible. And like a lot of gay men, he doesn't have blood family. Blood family was not there for him at that moment.

Vito and a few others are Michael's family. And this was truly an authentic moment.

And I'd like to add to that, when you come out of the closet like Michael did, you're living your truth. Well, this is just another part of living your truth. And that was the most authentic, honest moment we've seen in a long time. And it was beautiful, and it will go down in history for a lot of reasons.

LEMON: I wonder. I wonder, because everyone seems to be in agreement here, but there are people who disagree, right, and who think that this may actually increase the divide, rather than close the divide. Or widen the divide for tolerance.


LEMON: Because it was so startling.

THOMAS: Don, may I ask a question?

LEMON: Go ahead.

THOMAS: May I ask a question of Howard? Howard, you know, he was accepted by the Missouri football team and the coaching staff. I'm not seeing them interviewed anywhere. Was he accepted wholeheartedly...


THOMAS: ... by the Missouri team.

LEMON: I can answer that, yes. THOMAS: OK. Because they're not being interviewed anywhere. I'm not seeing these tough guys -- by the way, a great football team and a great coaching staff. Where are they on television?

LEMON: Didn't you get a note from Mizzou?


LEMON: Howard.



BRAGMAN: Yes. I -- you know, I got a note from the sports information director today, who sent me a posting on Mizzou Web site. And it was about a military family, a very tough, conservative family, and they were watching this together. And there was a 15-year-old son. And if you follow me on Twitter you can see this.

And it's about their 15-year-old son, and they're watching this. And as soon as they did this, the son burst into tears and he said, "I'm gay and I want to live my truth, too."


BRAGMAN: And if Michael Sam has saved one family, one kid, then it's all worth it. His family embraced him, told him they loved him. And there's another family of acceptance.

ROBBINS: You know, Howard, one more thing I want to build on that, because I watched this with my three kids. And one of the things that was so amazing is that none of them were nonplussed by this, other than to say, like, "How awesome. Oh, that's so cute."

LEMON: That's young people. ROBBINS: but the adults are all like, "Oh, my God, he kissed a guy. It's too passionate." Too bad it's not like a little...

LEMON: Would you like to kiss me on national television?

ROBBINS: Yes, I would.

LEMON: OK, there you go. Now sit down.

ROBBINS: Too bad it's not like a -- like a little peck. I mean, Robin Roberts is exactly right.

LEMON: We probably freaked a lot of people out.

ROBBINS: A gay black man and a married white woman? This is very scandalous.

LEMON: All right. Your husband's not going to come after me, right?

ROBBINS: He's watching right now. Hi, honey. LEMON: Jay, a lot of people including former NFL player Derrick Ward, have commented that kids would have been watching the draft and ESPN shouldn't have shown the kiss. I mean, what are your thoughts on that?

I think -- I think Mel makes a very good point. Older people may have an issue with it: some older people, not all older people. But for young people, they don't really care.

THOMAS: You've got to go all the way back to what Howard...

MAXWELL: Well, I think to think about this -- you look at everything that's happening right now. You look at over and over again all over the world, kids can get anything they want to. So why are we thinking that we're trying to cover up something right now by not showing the kiss? My kids go on the Internet right now, and I don't know what they might be watching.

LEMON: Brian Stelter...

MAXWELL: Shocked right now about the kids.

LEMON: Brian Stelter, as a media person, how many times -- you know, we talked about -- what was it, "Miami Vice" or one of them, where they used to show the butt, right, of the guy and that was a big thing.

ROBBINS: You're showing your age. I don't know what you're talking about.

LEMON: How many times have we seen straight people make out on camera, have sex, Brian Stelter, on television in the middle of primetime forever?

STELTER: I'm personally a lot more worried about violence on TV than I am about sexuality on TV. And we've seen a lot of gay characters embrace and kiss on TV, men and women.

I think what was different this time was that it was a real-life celebrity and not an actor on "Modern Family" or something like that. That's why it made it a little bit different. But it was only a one or two degree of difference from all of those shows which, by the way, have contributed quite a bit to people's growing tolerance and acceptance.

LEMON: I think it was -- it may have been difference because it was an athlete, as well, and a professional athlete, seeing it on the sports channel.

ROBBINS: Yes. I think it was just the emotion that shocked people, too.

LEMON: All right. Stand by, everyone. Coming up, more on Michael Sam's historic moment.

Also, a new video from some of the music world's biggest music stars but not the type they typically star in.


LEMON: There's a lot of focus on the kiss between Michael Sam and his boyfriend. But what will life be like for an openly gay player in the NFL?

I'm back now with my panel of experts. And first of all, I want to ask you, Cedric. Michael Sam was the lowest drafted SEC defensive player of the year. And 248 players went ahead of him. Did coming out hurt his career?

MAXWELL: I don't think it hurt his career. I think that they evaluate him as a player right now.

And I happened to sit with Jason Collins, who was the openly gay player with the Celtics when he played last year, a couple years ago. And the real thing I understood about him was the fact that I just really tried to put myself in his shoes and think how afraid he was that somebody was going to come out on him, someone was going to find out.

But once it came out, I just thought, man, how relieved he was as a person...

LEMON: Right.

MAXWELL: ... and as a player to go out and finally play the game that he's already -- always loved.

LEMON: All right. But here's the reality though, Kenneth. Here are the draft positions of past defensive players of the year from the SEC, the draft round. In 2003, the first year of the award, a player went in the fifth round. Every year since then they went in the first round except one in the second round. It's hard to look at that and think that coming out didn't in some way either hurt Michael Sam or affect, at least, where he was picked in this draft.

SHROPSHIRE: Well, look, is there someone that may have been biased in the decision-making process? Probably so. Is there somebody that didn't make a business decision that this would be too much of a distraction? Probably so.

But overall, it's very difficult to judge talent transitioning from college to the pros. So you know, it's a combination of things. And I don't think we can overwhelmingly say it was some discriminatory decision by the other 248 picks before that.

LEMON: Brian, the Rams tweeted this statement from Michael Sam from last night -- from last season alone. He said, "I should have been in the first three rounds, SEC defensive player of the year, all- American." The Rams are really embracing Michael Sam, because they retweeted something that he -- that he tweeted. Do you think he should have been picked sooner?

STELTER: Well, to the extent that there may have been teams that may have looked in the other direction from him, the Rams are going to benefit from looking in his direction, from picking -- the Rams are going to benefit from all across the country in different ways. And they may -- they may end up being even happier about the decision than they otherwise would be for that reason.

LEMON: OK. So, Jay, he brings up a very good point.


LEMON: Don't you think that some of the teams who passed on him may have seen that kiss and said, "See, that's -- boy, we did not have to deal with that"?

THOMAS: Yes, and by the way, they're now saying that he did not do well at the combine.

I hate to say this, but I don't know if that's true or not. But they say they have times, they have strength tests, and they say he did not do well in the combine.

I also believe and I go back to Jeff Fisher again. I think Jeff Fisher spoke to his team leaders and his ownership and said, "We think this guy is terrific." Because you know, they do all of this, you know, research.

LEMON: Right.

THOMAS: And I think the other teams looked at their locker rooms and -- by the way, if you have a locker room filled with evangelical football players, you're not going the take a gay linebacker on your team. I'm sorry. There's no room for all those guys in the center of the field praying with a guy holding hands with a man as he goes back into the locker room.

I think it was a business decision. I think teams said, "Well, we'll get somebody else." I really want this guy to do well. He's going to have a rough season, and I think if they're cursing or if they curse him, I hope those flags are thrown. Because that is a new rule in the NFL. If you curse on the field, you get a flag. If there is a "queer" or a "fag" or whatever they want to call him, I hope flags are thrown. And I am pulling for him. I'm a Saints man, through and through. But this year, I'm a St. Louis Rams man. I want this guy to do really well.

STELTER: And by the way, statistically, there were other football players who were drafted in the last few days who are gay. They just have not come out.

LEMON: Not come out.

STELTER: Maybe this will make it a little easier.

LEMON: So Jay, I say, "Thank you, who dat" to you, being from Louisiana.

So Howard... BRAGMAN: Yes, man.

LEMON: ... Jay said he's expecting a rough season. Do you -- is he expecting a rough season? Are you expecting one for him?

BRAGMAN: I think all NFL rookies are -- can expect a rough season. It's very tough to go from college and to make it in the NFL.

But I can tell you this: people talked a lot about distraction. That was the buzz word that was used all along this thing. "Oh, he's going to be distracted" The most focused person in this whole process has been Michael Sam. And...

LEMON: All right.

BRAGMAN: ... he -- let me say, he's done -- he's done two -- three interviews now and one press conference. He'll do another one tomorrow. We are blocking for him so that he can focus on being a football player. That's what he intends to do.

LEMON: Good.

BRAGMAN: And knowing this, man, I won't bet against him.

LEMON: And I can't wait to have that interview with him, Howard. That one-on-one sit-down.

ROBBINS: Hint, hint, hint.

LEMON: So thank you -- right. I thank you in advance for that, Howard Bragman.

Coming up -- coming up, shocking surveillance video has surfaced and it appears to feature two of the world's biggest music stars. What's behind this video? That's next.


LEMON: Another story everybody is talking about. TMZ has published a new video that features a woman who strongly resembles Solange Knowles, Beyonce's sister, attacking a man who strongly resembles Solange's brother-in-law, Jay-Z, inside an elevator.

CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the video. We have reached out to the parties concerned for comment and we have yet to hear back from them.

So first off, I have been waiting all day to do this finally, say that, you know, Jay-Z has 99 problems, and Solange Knowles may be one. What do you think?

ROBBINS: Look, if they were coming from the Met Gala, it looks like somebody got drunk and picked a fight with her brother-in-law, and to Jay-Z's credit what every man should do when a woman goes crazy: you do nothing. LEMON: Mm-hmm. OK. So Brian, let's talk about how this tape got leaked and tapes like this get out. The Standard Hotel, by the way, in New York has responded to the release of this video, and they say, "We are shocked and disappointed that there was a clear breach of our security system and the confidentiality that we count on providing our guests. We are investigating with the utmost urgency the circumstances surrounding this situation and, as is our customary practice, will discipline and prosecute the individuals involved to the fullest capacity."

How does this happen? How does this get out to TMZ?

STELTER: Not good for that hotel chain. They are -- they pride themselves on having their celebrity guests. I don't think it will hurt them in the long run, but it's not good today.

You know, think about how Cliven Bundy was undone by audio tape. Donald Sterling taken down by an audio tape. What we're missing from this video is audio. We don't know what's been said. And it's been 10 hours. None of the people involved have commented. I think tomorrow we're going to be in for something. Somebody will have to explain what happened.

LEMON: Howard, Jay-Z and Beyonce are known for managing all aspects of their lives and getting pretty much everything right. I mean, if this is them on the tape how unusual is this for them?

BRAGMAN: Well, it's very unusual, but Beyonce looked a little nonplussed by the whole thing. She wasn't like you know? That's the part.

So they have a very good team. They manage their public image very well. This cannot be making them happy, assuming it's them. And now we know why Jay-Z has bodyguards around all the time. Don't we?

LEMON: You know, we saw them before, you know, before -- before at this party. And there them on the red carpet. And then we see them afterwards. And then after afterwards they leave, and they put Beyonce and Solange in the same car. And then Jay-Z goes to a different car. And you see them doing at the last minute. And you see Solange in there up front, and she does not look happy. Jay-Z goes to get in. The bodyguard goes, "Nope, nope, sorry. You're going to go back."

ROBBINS: This was before the fight?

LEMON: Yes, this is before the fight?

ROBBINS: Or after? Or is this after?

LEMON: That was after the fight.

Yes. Go ahead, Jay.

THOMAS: Not to be discriminatory. I said stuff about old, rich, white people. I want to say that every now and again it's great to see a really rich black guy get his ass beat by his sister-in-law. I just have to say that.

LEMON: Jay, you have been an equal opportunity offender tonight.


LEMON: You've offended old white people and young black guys. Rich.

THOMAS: Rich. All rich people.

LEMON: All right.

THOMAS: All very rich.

LEMON: Thank you so much for joining us.

THOMAS: Nobody middle class.

LEMON: I appreciate all of you. We'll have you back. That's it for us tonight. I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for watching. "AC 360" starts right now.