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Dan Marino Sues NFL Over Concussions; Bergdahl's Release Triggers Firestorm; Obama Under Fire For Bergdahl Swap; Let the NBA Finals Trash Talk Begin

Aired June 3, 2014 - 06:00   ET


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Your NEW DAY starts right now.

Good morning. Welcome to NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, June 3rd, 6:00 in the east. Breaking overnight, the NFL has a problem. Hall of fame quarterback, Dan Marino, is joining a lawsuit against the league claiming it concealed serious health complications being caused by concussions. He and now 14 other players filed last week joining nearly 5,000 who have challenged the league overhead injuries.

But of them all, Marino has the most star power and star power can matter in litigation. Andy Scholes is monitoring the latest developments for us live from the CNN Center in Atlanta. Good morning. What do we know?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN BLEACHER REPORT: You know, this basically boils down to the players are not happy with the previous settlement. The fact that it still held up in the court system. They want the NFL to compensate them for what they say are lifelong injuries. Now they have one of the game's greatest players ever helping to lead the fight.


SCHOLES (voice-over): Hall of fame quarterback, Dan Marino is now suing the NFL. Former Miami Dolphin joining 14 other players in lawsuit taking on the league claiming the NFL knew about the long-term dangers of concussions and purposely misled players about the risk. The complaint didn't specify Marino's injuries or his condition, but did say he suffers symptoms of brain injury caused by the repetitive, traumatic, sub-concussive and/or concussive head impacts sustained during NFL games and/or practices.

Marina is not the first to file suit. More than 4,500 other players are currently suing the NFL as part of a class action, but the hall of famer is one of the most prominent names. About two weeks ago another lawsuit was filed claiming players were given pain killers and narcotics by team doctors and trainers. Some not medically licensed to keep them playing even while hurt. The players in the suit say those drugs did long-term damage to their health.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody ever in my entire life ever spoke about the issues I'm going to have with my kidneys because I played the game of tackle football.

SCHOLES: In a separate case, a judge rejected a proposed $765 million settlement for in fact saying she didn't believe there was enough money to cover up to 20,000 retired players. All of this just as the issue has gone all of the way to the top. President Obama last week calling together a concussion summit and proposing $30 million in funding for concussion-related research.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Concussions are not just a football issue. They don't just affect grown men who choose to accept some risk to play a game that they love and that they excel at.


SCHOLES: So the ball is now back in the NFL's court. They hoped the settlement was going to be the end of the litigation, but now it looks like they might be back to square one.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Andy, thank you very much for starting us off this morning. We'll continue to follow that.

We're going to follow troubling new questions this morning about the controversial release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. Later this hour, President Obama will be speaking in Poland. This is a live look at the podiums where he will be joined the Polish president.

He very likely will face tough questions about the prisoner swap that freed Bergdahl and whether it broke the law. Also this morning Bergdahl continues to recover from startling charges coming from fellow soldiers that he deserted his post and triggered a search that may have cost American lives.

But former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now entering the fray defending the deal the brought Bergdahl his freedom.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We do have a tradition and I ascribe to it. It's a tradition that I think is not only one embedded in our military but in our country, and that is we try not to leave any of our soldiers on the field.


BOLDUAN: All right, let's go over to Barbara Starr live at the Pentagon for us this morning with the very latest. What are you hearing right now, Barbara?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. You know, hero or deserter, everybody seems to have a name to attach to Bowe Bergdahl right now, but the Pentagon says until they hear the facts from him, they do not know exactly what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) STARR (voice-over): Within hours of Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's release, social media lit up. A Facebook page saying, Bowe Bergdahl is not a hero, but a deserter who left his post. Josh Korder served with him.

JOSH KORDER, FORMER U.S. ARMY SERGEANT: As soon as he is able and as soon as he is fit I do believe that he needs to be questioned and basically tried, if necessary. Any of us would have died for him while he was with us. And then for him to just leave us like that, it was a very big betrayal.

STARR: Family and friends of fellow troops saying that these soldiers were killed in attacks searching for Bergdahl. But the administration's position, the U.S. had a solemn obligation to search for and rescue him.

DENIS MCDONOUGH, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Let me be clear. The United States of America does not leave our men and women in uniform behind. Ever.

STARR: One reason, U.S. officials tell CNN there was classified intelligence indicating Bergdahl's health is failing. But now that he is back, officials say they need to hear directly from him, did he deliberately leave his post and why. Some of the confusion?

An initial incident report says Bergdahl was not on guard duty as some suggests at the time of his disappearance in 2009. A classified cable released by Wikileaks detailing Taliban radio intercepts saying they grabbed an American at a makeshift latrine. Key maybe Bergdahl's state of mind.

KORDER: As soon as we gone Afghanistan and things started to turn a little bit harder for all of us, he immediately started separating himself away from us and everyone in the platoon started gravitating more towards the Afghan soldiers.

STARR: But Pentagon officials say if Bergdahl was troubled, did his teammates report it?


STARR: And of course an initial investigation conducted five areas yes go when this all started could not be completed because Bergdahl couldn't tell his side of the story. Now they say here at the Pentagon they want to hear from him -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Right, Barbara. Thank you very much. As we mentioned, President Obama is in Poland this morning. We're expecting that he could be asked about Bergdahl's release when there is a brief press conference that they will be holding.

Let's bring in senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta traveling with the president. Obviously the president's quick European trip has many other focuses, but this has followed him on this trip.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Kate. I just talked to a senior administration official in the last several minutes who said the president now expects to be asked this question about Bowe Bergdahl's release, the legality of it, whether or not it was really worth the price of exchanging this POW's release for the five Taliban fighters who were freed from the U.S. Detention Center in Guantanamo.

And what the senior administration official said, Kate, is that the president wants to own this. He fully believes that this was the right thing to do in the words of this administration official, the White House had a small window of opportunity. They had a proof of life and they took this opportunity to free Bowe Bergdahl and they really are no questions about it at this point according to this administration official.

The White House from the top down was pretty much a unified front when it came to this question. Now they do know that because this is quite controversial back in Washington, you not only have Republican critics, but also some Democrats on Capitol Hill saying that the White House should have notified members of Congress, key members of Congress about this deal that was in the works.

They do know that this is going to overshadow at least the first part of this three-nation trip for the president. He's here in Poland to talk about Eastern European security and reassuring NATO partners. He's going to be announcing a $1 billion fund to increase military exercise in this region to counter the Russian threat after the invasion of Ukraine.

So some of that is going to be overshadowed, but according to the senior administration official this president wants to have a debate about closing the U.S. Detention Center in at Guantanamo and that he wants to end this war in Afghanistan.

And as this administration official was saying, Chris, if they're going to close the prison at Guantanamo, they might as well get something out of that process. And if that includes freeing a POW then that's exactly the course of action they're going to take -- Chris.

CUOMO: New line of analysis there. Jim, we'll come back to you. Let us know when the president is taking questions and we will get those answers live hopefully about him being asked about Bowe Bergdahl.

Right now let's take the questions that we believe he's going to be asked to unpack them with Retired Major General James "Spider" Marks. He is a CNN military analyst and was former commanding general for the U.S. Army Intelligence Center.

General, thank you for joining us. Let's punch point these. The first issue is, we're going to release these bad guys, but we're going to monitor them. A lot of skepticism about that. Have we ever monitored men like this successfully before?

MAJ. GENERAL JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RETIRED), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Sure. I mean, that's what our CIA does. We run sources all the time and we have operations that are exceptionally well planned, very thoroughly executed. That's the main charter of the Central Intelligence Agency and our intelligence community at large. There is a collection, as you well know, of capabilities that are out there that will come together under the control of the CIA.

So that we can keep an eye on these five Taliban leaders as they work their way back into society and their reintegration. That's the story here. We need to take our time in terms of getting too far ahead of the story vis-a-vis Bergdahl. But we have a charter and we have a capability to make sure we can stay on top of these five guys in Qatar as they move forward.

CUOMO: Because General the common perception is that we have a hard time finding guys like this so the implication is if you're going to let some go you will lose track of them. You're saying you have confidence they can be successfully controlled, in essence?

MARKS: You know, Chris, I have to have confidence that that's what our intelligence community is charged with doing. I mean, this is what they do. That's why they exist. If we can't raise our hands and say, yes, we have to take this on, yes, we can do this, man, we have spent a heck of a lot of money and invested decades in an infrastructure and capability that we have to acknowledge is on life support if we can't do this fundamental task, albeit tough, albeit very, very difficult.

But we have the technology and we have the focus and we have the manpower and we certainly have the leadership to get this thing done. I have to be. I've been a part of this and I have to have the confidence this is going to take place.

CUOMO: All right, so optimism until we have proof to feel otherwise. You said don't get ahead --

MARKS: We need to have that optimism.

CUOMO: I got you, General. You said don't get ahead of the Bergdahl aspect of this story. Let me ask you. These are allegations, suggestions without proof about his walking off, possible desertion, even if the ugliest of the allegations were true, would that change your analysis of whether or not this was a good deal, this was the right thing to do?

MARKS: Chris, not at all. Not at all. This is a young American. We can't conflate the two issues here, which is the terms of Bergdahl's capture and the terms in the conditional release of these five Taliban in this exchange. We have to presume -- even if this proves out as you've indicated the worse of the worse and this kid is a deserter and he's the worse young soldier that ever populated the platoon at the lowest levels and abandoned his buddies.

He abandoned, he left behind his buddies in battle, if all of that is true we have to presume that we need to get him back and get to the bottom of this so the presumption needs to be let's figure that out after we get this young man back. We can't allow to have this occur where he dies in front of us at the hands of our enemies and we have a capability. We have an opening to get this accomplished to bring him back to figure out what went wrong. The bottom line, Chris, is that if he is found -- if he is charged, if there's an investigation, there will be, and if he's charge with offenses under UCMJ we need to bring him down to path and this is difficult because it is wrapped in an amazing amount of emotion here. We need to bring him down the path and bring him to justice.

CUOMO: General, I want to keep you with us. We're going to bring you back because we want to have more of a discussion on this, especially with the implications of this deal going forward now that we hear that Cuba is saying, maybe we'll do a deal like this. This is just one of the stories we're covering. A lot of headlines for you so let's get right to Michaela -- Mich.

MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Chris, thanks so much.

Here are your headlines at this hour. A business owner from Yemen who has been living in upstate New York is facing charges this morning after police say that he plotted to kill U.S. military members as vengeance for American actions overseas. Officials say he had been charged with -- has been charged with two counts of receiving and possessing an unregistered firearm silencer. The FBI says it has been investigating Elfgeeh for over a year.

Politics taking center stage with primary races being decided in eight states today. Voters going to polls in California, South Dakota, New Mexico, Iowa, Montana, New Jersey, Alabama and Mississippi where long- time Senator Thad Cochran is trying to head off a Tea Party challenger. We'll have more on that race ahead.

In Syria, polls are open for presidential elections amid tight security incumbent President Bashar Al-Assad widely expected to win another term. It is the first multi-candidate election in more than 40 years. This election comes amid a three-year civil war in which tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions more displaced.

Quite a chilling story out of Wisconsin. Two 12-year-old girls now charged as adults for allegedly luring a friend into a park after a sleepover, then stabbing her 19 times. Investigators say the girls were acting out horror stories from a web site. Court documents show one of the victim's stab wounds were so close to her heart she was one millimeter away from certain death. She is said to be stable this morning. We'll have much more on this very chilling story in our next hour.

All right, weather really playing quite a big role in the Midwest today. Karen Maginnis is in for Indra Petersons for the latest forecast. Good to see you, Karen. Good morning.

KAREN MAGINNIS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning. We are looking at a significant, severe weather outbreak. It doesn't look like much now even though we've had reports of hail across the north central Nebraska. By this afternoon, perhaps about midday we could see some rotating thunderstorms which could produce tornadoes. There are about 3 million people in this moderate watch area, moderate risk area, a much broader area all across the Midwest. What you need is moisture, heat, lift, and rotation. And this is what we're expecting.

In addition to the possibility of tornadoes, severe flooding has high potential between two and four inches of rainfall expected, essentially along Interstate 80, sandwiched between interstate 70 and 90. That runs from Omaha to Grand Island to North Platte into Des Moines, northern sections of Missouri. I think Kansas City, you could see some thunderstorms, but the higher risk moves along that warm front which is traveling towards the North. Area of low pressure is going to cause that spin-up at 3 million people at risk today for tornadic activity.

Kate, Chris, back to you.

CUOMO: All right. Karen, thank you very much. Appreciate that.

Our Indra Petersons is out there chasing tornadoes. So, we'll see what she happens. Hopefully, nothing too dangerous.

Let's take a quick break here on NEW DAY.

When we come back: President Obama is about to speak in Poland. The question is, what will he say when, if asked, about why this deal was made for Bowe Bergdahl.

And also, the accusations that the president may have broken the law on this deal. Did he? We're going to take you live to Warsaw as soon as there's word of his speech.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead. Hall of Famer Dan Marino is suing the NFL. He is saying the league knew about the long-term health effect of concussions and withheld the information. Former players weigh in right after the break.


CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY.

Breaking overnight, Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino is taking on the NFL, suing the league over concussions. He is now the most prominent star to challenge the league, claiming the NFL knew about a link between concussions and long-term health problems.

Joining us this morning, our HLN legal analyst, Mr. Joey Jackson, and former NFL player Coy Wire.

Gentlemen, thank you.

Coy, I start with you. Surprised Marino joined this suit and what do you think it means for the perception within and without the league?

COY WIRE, FORMER NFL PLAYER: Well, I can't say I'm surprised because there are a lot of names on this list, this growing list of prominent player, hall of fame players, pro bowl players. I think what this does is set this into a new category because Dan Marino is a household name in the sport of football, hall of famer, iconic individual who was never known to be lazy, who would not be known to make a money grab. You know, this guy is changing the game for the players in terms of the perception of what's happening here with this suit.

CUOMO: Joey Jackson, I hand you a big bucket of cold water for you to throw on this excitement. He does not claim to have an injury. Can he join a lawsuit if he does not claim an injury?

JOEY JACKSON, HLN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, certainly he could. The issue would be whether or not at some point, the symptoms manifest themselves, certainly concussions are something that over a long period of time could have a debilitating affect upon people. So I do think, Chris, that he has standing to enter it.

What the specific injuries are will have to be proven ultimately in a court of law. If that does not occur then, of course, his claim will be dismissed.

CUOMO: Joey, do you think this settles, $767 million was not enough the judge said because you could have 20,000 players involved. Do you think it settles?

JACKSON: I think it certainly could. I mean, the NFL certainly, Chris, does not need negative publicity like this. It's a multibillion dollar industry. I think everybody needs to ensure, the NFL certainly, that the players are as safe as they can be.

Now, obviously, the argument will be is that if you are a player, you assume the risk. Players know and Coy, certainly, could speak to this being a former player, it's tough out there.

But the question then becomes, yes, it is tough but NFL, if you knew there was a causal relationship should you not at least, Chris, put me on notice so I could make an educated choice before I go out and playing that game.

CUOMO: So, Coy, Joey pointed something else that I'm surprised how much we hear when this story comes up with people saying, Coy, look at your neck, look at the size of you. You knew what you were getting into. You built your body for this game. You know it is violent. You had to expect these things to happen. And now it's just too late to complain.

What's your take?

WIRE: Well, that neck you speak of has a titanium plate with four screws in it. And I understand what you're saying.

Joey, you bring up a great point. The players, of course, they know there are risks, as they are with any profession, albeit a much greater risk and more significant injuries that occur in this profession.

The problem is unlike other professions, if a player doesn't get back out there, when they come back to work, if they've been gone too long they might get fired. They're forced and pressured to get back on that field. And the case here is that they don't know how significant these injuries are. They don't know or didn't know until now what we know now is that chronic traumatic encephalopathy, that protein that forms can be debilitating years after they leave the game.

These players just want to make sure they are compensated, have medical treatment. If the time arises where they're not feeling well, they're not feeling healthy -- I think that's the main thing we need to realize. The players know the risk but there's that pressure to get back out there and perform.

CUOMO: What's the however?

JACKSON: Now, that is true. But that is also a personal choice, right? I mean, there's money involved. These are people who are well-compensated, right? And as a result of that, you can make the choice. And you have sponsorship deals and other things.

You want to perform. But if you know that it's a dangerous sport, obviously, that's a decision that you have to make. So, the fact that you went out on the field, that's on you.

WIRE: Joey, I think you're hitting it right on the head. That's thing. We now know. Thank goodness we know because of media, the problem that are arising because of head trauma.

The players then didn't know. I'm one of them. I was rushed back on the field too soon and not knowing how significant these injuries were.

We all know now. It should never happen again. These players are just going back and wanted to be compensated should anything develop with their health in the long term.

CUOMO: I tell you, this is a complicated issue and you guys are laying out why you have the practicalities versus the legalities. I tell you an even tougher issue is what do you do going forward? Can you change this game? What do you do with our kids?

There are a lot of issues here to unpack. We have to leave that part for another day.

Coy, Joey, thank you very much for helping us break this down.

JACKSON: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: So, let the NBA Finals fun begin and of course that means all the trash talking that comes with it. The Spurs proclaim they are going to get their revenge and dethrone King James but LeBron, not surprisingly said, not so fast, Andy Scholes.

Andy Scholes is here with this morning's "Bleacher Report".

What do you know?

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: Hey, good morning, Kate.

You know, after taking down the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals, Tim Duncan says the Spurs, they wanted the Heat in the finals and this time they're going to win it.

Well, the two-time defending champions heard those comments loud and clear. LeBron says the Heat are ready for the rematch.


LEBRON JAMES, MIAMI HEAT: They don't like us. They don't. I can sense it from Timmy's comments over the last couple days. They wanted this. They wanted us. And you know, we'll be ready for the challenge.


SCHOLES: The NBA Finals tip-off Thursday night with game one in San Antonio.

All right. Trending on this morning is the crazy prices New York fans are paying for the Stanley Cup Final. The Rangers, of course, playing in many for the cup for the first time in 20 years and the cheapest ticket just to get in to Madison Square Garden for game three is around $1,000. Meanwhile, for game one and two in L.A., you can get in to watch for around 360 bucks.

So, Kate, potentially you could actually if you're a New York fan fly all of the way to L.A., buy at this times to the game and get back for the same price you can see it at Madison Square Garden.

But, Chris, I'm sure you agree, the mystique of watching it in New York is something you can't pass.

BOLDUAN: He just made both arguments for us. And then you forget the fact that I am neither a fan of either, neither a fan of neither.


SCHOLES: No hockey in Indianapolis. Sorry, Kate.

BOLDUAN: I know. I had to take on another team. I took on the red wings. I don't know if that was smart or a mistake.

CUOMO: Her husband is from Detroit, you know. It makes more sense that way.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it does.

CUOMO: How is the baby doing?

SCHOLES: He is doing fabulous.

CUOMO: All right. SCHOLES: He was very loud last night.

CUOMO: That matters more. It will get ugly up in here just so you know, Andy, because we got Mick from the West Coast and your boy out of Queens right here.


CUOMO: The Canada/U.S. didn't go so well for me last time.


BOLDUAN: He's got wagering. Let's see what happens.

Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, manhunt over after a three-day search a man accused of carrying explosives is finally caught. You see right there -- new details this morning about the demons that he says he may have been battling.

CUOMO: And we've been telling you the president is in Poland. He's about to speak. And we believe he's going to address the controversy surrounding the prisoner swap about freeing Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. How will he answer those questions? We'll bring it to you live.