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Tracy Morgan's Condition Improving; California Chrome Owner Apologizes; Adam Silver: It's Not a Done Deal Yet

Aired June 9, 2014 - 08:30   ET



MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Here we go. Here are the five things you need to know for your new day.

At number one, two Las Vegas police officers were gunned down as they ate lunch. Police say the shooters were a married couple that held extremist views toward law enforcement. They killed a third person before killing themselves.

More than two dozen people are now dead after an attack on Pakistan's busiest airport. Ten of the dead are militants who stormed the international airport in Karachi with guns, grenades and suicide vests.

We are learning more about the abuse Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl suffered in Taliban captivity. CNN has learned that Bergdahl was locked in a box or cage after trying to escape. This as the FBI investigates threats against Bergdahl's parents.

Today President Obama is expected to expand a program to help ease the burden of federal student loans. An additional five million borrowers will now be eligible for the Alternative Repayment Program.

And at number five, Flight 370 families are launching their own effort to find out what happened to their loved ones. They've started a crowd sourcing campaign on the site Indiegogo. They're trying to raise $5 million for a reward for information and to help in the investigation.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the latest.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to put the information on if you want to help that fund, how to do it on the website. So look out for that on the CNN website if you want to get involved in that effort.

Now, this morning, there are encouraging signs for comedian Tracy Morgan, but he's not out of the woods yet. His publicist says the good news, Morgan's showing some improvement after a New Jersey highway crash that injured four and killed one of his closest friends. However, Morgan does remain in critical condition as the truck driver charged with slamming into his limo is expected in court. We have CNN's Nischelle Turner here following the situation.

Good morning. What do we know?


You know, hearing from his rep that Tracy Morgan is becoming more responsive and that they find that encouraging is really good news. Two others, comedian Ardie Fuqua and Morgan's assistant, Jeff Millea, do remain listed in critical condition as well. And, today, like Chris said, we could hear from the driver of the truck that apparently hit the limo bus Morgan was riding in because he will be in court.


TURNER (voice-over): Actor-comedian Tracy Morgan is in critical condition after a deadly car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike over the weekend. Morgan's publicist says the former "30 Rock" star is responsive following Sunday's surgery at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he's being treated for broken ribs, a broken nose and leg.

Around 1:00 a.m. Saturday, Morgan was riding in a limo van after performing in a casino in Delaware. State police say Morgan's vehicle was struck from behind by a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer that failed to observe slow-moving traffic. The impact flipped Morgan's vehicle on its side, killing one person and injuring several others.

TYRONE GALE, LIMO DRIVER: All I know is I saw traffic and I stopped and I was upside down.

TURNER: Morgan's friend and fellow comedian James McNair, known as "Jimmy Mack," died in the crash.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Devastated. We're devastated. And, James, I love you.

TURNER: Police arrested 35-year-old Kevin Roper, a Wal-Mart employee and driver of the tractor-trailer, charging him with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto. Wal-Mart's CEO released a statement on the tragedy saying in part, "we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved. If it's determined that our truck caused the accident, Wal-Mart will take full responsibility."

On Sunday, Tracy Morgan's publicist noted his recovery would be a long one.


TURNER: Now, and Tracy Morgan was in the middle of his "Turn It Funny" standup tour. I recently saw an interview with him where he said he was really excited to get back to stand-up and get back on the road again after "30 Rock" ended because that's where his heart was. That was his first love, traveling around doing stand-up for live audiences.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: And your folks (ph) saw him. TURNER: Yes. A few weeks ago he was in my hometown as part of his

tour, so they went and caught the - caught his act.

BALDWIN: We wish him well.


BALDWIN: All right, coming up next here on NEW DAY, that sigh of relief from the NBA about that Clippers sale may be a bit premature. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talked exclusively with our own Rachel Nichols. Do not miss what he had to say to her.

CUOMO: California Chrome's owner is now apologizing, not surprising. He is apologizing to one of the men who we have on - or one of the men he is apologizing to, we have on the show. One of the trainers of California Chrome is going to join us and tell us what he thinks about what the owner said and, more importantly, what does he think happened at the race. There he is. Thanks for being on.


CUOMO: Honest to goodness breaking news here regarding California Chrome's co-owner Steve Coburn. He had been bashing the other horses, bashing the race industry. And you know what? He just reversed it all. He's crying, apologizing, just moments ago to everybody in the world, literally, for the comments he made after his horse lost. Let's take a listen. Do we have it? Not yet. Believe me, I'm not lying to you. See, we do have it. There you go. Let's hear it.


STEVE COBURN, OWNER OF CALIFORNIA CHROME: I'm very ashamed of myself. Very ashamed. I - I need to apologize to a lot of people, including my wife, Carolyn. First of all, I need to apologize to the winners. They run a beautiful race. Their horse won the race. They deserve that. I did not mean to take anything away from them.


CUOMO: Interesting turn of event here. Now, you'll remember Coburn had called the competition cowards for not running their horses in all three legs of the triple crown. Those other horses, he says, were better rested and only ran the Belmont to play spoiler. Coburn says he was just emotional when he said that and now again apologizing.

So let's get some perspective. Joining us now from the Garden City Hotel in Garden City, New York, is Alan Sherman, assistant trainer for California Chrome.

Coburn apologized to his father Art, to Alan's father Art, just moments ago as well. He made the list. Alan, I'm sure that apology extends to you as well. He wants to keep classy for the organization. He apologized to his wife. She was trying to shut him up when he was making the first comments. She was grabbing him from behind. He didn't listen. Tell us about this man, Alan. How do we have to understand -- what's the lens through which we should look at all these comments? ALAN SHERMAN, ASSISTANT TRAINER, CALIFORNIA CHROME: Well, I think he

made those comments under the heat of the battle and he is actually a very nice man. He just probably was very emotional at the time.

CUOMO: Now, what's your take? You've always been a straight shooter about this stuff. Is it about having spoilers and fresh horses or was it what we're hearing the analysis, that Chrome got a good nick on his hoof when he came out of the game and that Espinoza, the jockey, seemed to get a little boxed in more than usual here. What do you think it was?

SHERMAN: Well, I think it was probably more the three races within the five-week period. It's a tough grind on the young horses. And, you know, I don't think they should change the triple crown, timing it all between races. But I think maybe if they gave a bonus, like have a point system and gave, like, say, a million dollar bonus to the horse that has the most points at the end of the triple crown, it might entice people to run them in all three races.

CUOMO: That's interesting, because what is actually going on? You know, let's get to the heart of the matter that Coburn was talking about, leaving out all of the inflammatory language. It's always been this way, but you're saying that there is something inherently unfair?

SHERMAN: Well, I wouldn't say it's unfair by any means. If I own those other horses, I'd have done the same thing. But I just think if they had a point system where you get so many points in the Derby where you finish, so many points in the Preakness and then, you know, leading up to the Belmont, and whoever has the most points at the end of those three races gets a $1 million bonus or something. I just think that would entice people to run in all three races.

CUOMO: Well, but not to chase you too much on this, but if you want a point system, it's because you're recognizing that there's a degree of difficulty in running all three races that a lot of horses opt out of. And if they're opting out, then how does that make it fair to horses that are in all three races?

SHERMAN: Well, I mean it's -- it's been the same way, the triple crown, for 150 years now. And I don't think they should change that at all. Just give a little incentive for the horses that do make all three races and, you know, run their hearts out in all three of them.

CUOMO: You know, one of the things that we loved about the California Chrome story was that he came without all these blood lines and all this stuff that you guys obsess on all the time and that it showed, you know, that a more average horse could still compete with the big shots. So then he loses and there's this undercurrent that was kind of overshadowed by everything that Coburn said where they said, well, you know, the blood lines came back to bite him because he doesn't have that longevity, that big race blood line in him, so that's why it wound up catching up to him ultimately. Do you buy that?

SHERMAN: No, I don't buy that. He's a good horse. I mean he only got beat a length and three quarters and he did - you know, he got cut up pretty good in the race and, like you said, he did have a little traffic problem. But, still, to only be -- get beat a length and three quarters, I don't think it had anything to do with his blood lines.

CUOMO: The jockey did say he felt that Chrome wasn't himself that day. Do you think that was the nick on the hoof or what do you account for?

SHERMAN: Oh, I don't know. I think it was more of the fact that the three races, he was -- might have been a little bit wore out. You know, like I said, it's a hard grind on these young horses. And, you know, the horse tried hard. That's all I can ask for. And he'll live to fight another day.

CUOMO: Well, we'll see how he does at the Breeders Cup. He'll, you know, get to take up his reputation there again. Alan, a pleasure having you. Extend our best to your father. And sorry to get you caught up in the stink there with Coburn, but it was good to clear it all up. And good luck going forward.

SHERMAN: All right. Thank you, sir.

CUOMO: All right.

Over to you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: How about those Coburn comments? He almost seemed, you know, near tears apologizing for those comments he made. A lot of emotion.

Coming up next here on NEW DAY, in this exclusive new interview, we will hear from the man who banned L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life. Here he is, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver telling Rachel Nichols about what is next for the team.


PEREIRA: He says it's not a done deal yet. Who am I talking about? The NBA commissioner Adam Silver; he's speaking exclusively with our Rachel Nichols about the Donald Sterling saga revealing that his worries that even though Sterling has a deal to sell the L.A. Clippers, it could still fall apart.

Rachel is here this morning. He says don't believe it until the ink is dry.

RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN SPORTS: Yes, absolutely. You know, it's so fascinating to talk to him because he really hasn't opened up before about what it was like to be in the center of one of the biggest sports scandals we've had recently. And yes, he floored me by saying this is not as finished as we were led to believe possibly last week.

Take a listen.


NICHOLS: Well, the board of governors still has to approve the sale of the Clippers to Steve Ballmer, but basically what does it feel like to be out the other side of all of this?

ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: I don't have any feeling about this yet because it's not done. Donald Sterling still has a billion dollar lawsuit filed against the league, against me personally. I'm not so worried about that because I can't afford it.

But there's still a last issue to resolve and that is Donald dropping his lawsuit and resolving his former issues with his wife.

NICHOLS: Now, his lawyer has said they plan to do that but are you in an "I'll believe it when I see it" mode?

SILVER: Absolutely. I've been there with him before. He's almost sold his club several times over the years. There's well-known incidents in the league when he was right there at a closing and at the last minute decided not to sell and until he signs that document, we still have a pending litigation with him.

NICHOLS: We all saw you come out for that press conference which will now be a historic press conference. Give me behind the scenes, the five minutes before you walked out to that podium. What was going through your head at what was going on?

SILVER: I generally tend to get a little nervous in those situations. I haven't walked out on such a large stage really ever in my career with that many cameras, that many members of the media. And Up until the last second, I was literally writing what I was going to say.

Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA.

NICHOLS: All right. So then what about the five minutes after you walked off that podium and had delivered this shell shock bomb to everybody?

SILVER: I didn't have a sense of what a big moment it was I think until I walked back to the office and began to have a sense of people coming up to me. Their reaction --

NICHOLS: So you were walking on the street and people just started talking to you about it?

SILVER: Absolutely, yes.

I began to have a sense of the magnitude of the decision and how many people had been watching.

NICHOLS: You got tremendous positive support from the public, but there was some criticism. The most pervasive question, stories in Donald Sterling's past were more widely circulated as to, hey, why didn't you guys do anything about this guy before?

SILVER: First, I'll say, if you read my e-mails, it's not all positive. There are a large segment of people out there saying similar to what Donald Sterling's lawyer said, this is America, he should be able to say whatever he wants. In terms of Donald's past behavior, let me say what I had said at the press conference. Had we ever seen evidence of anything remotely like this, we would have acted on it. There were lawsuits that were by the federal government, by the Department of Housing and Department of Justice that were settled without any findings. You're right -- in retrospect, in today's day and age of social media, should we have approached it differently? Maybe.

NICHOLS: I know that you don't think that just because someone has money to make their problems go away, that that makes their behavior okay. Yes, he settled, but he was sued over and over again for discrimination. There were depositions -- videotaped depositions in those cases of people testifying to abhorrent behavior, sexual harassment claims, incredible misogyny.

And just because he had the money to settle and have those never get adjudicated, why didn't you guys launch your own investigation the way you did in this case?

SILVER: I don't have a good answer for that. I'll only say that I was at the league during that time so I don't want to run from it but maybe there's just a different standard today in society. I can't say we were even having that discussion. It didn't come to our attention in the same way. And it was -- and seemed maybe even beyond our authority.

But I don't want to make excuses. Clearly there's a different standard now, in part because of social media. There's a much greater awareness now of how that behavior can affect people and impact our league.


NICHOLS: I like a little accountability there, right -- Michaela? He even took some accountability and responsibility for the air conditioning breaking in game one when we talked.

PEREIRA: He did not?


PEREIRA: All right. The buck stops here.

NICHOLS: Nice to hear that from the NBA commissioner.

PEREIRA: Well, this is obviously a saga that's not over. We'll be watching it -- great sit-down with Adam Silver. Thanks so much. You can catch more of this interview with Adam Silver. Rachel talks to him about his plans for the NBA on her show this week. "UNGUARDED WITH RACHEL NICHOLS" airs Friday night, 10:30 Eastern right here on CNN. I will not miss that. Great interview.

Thanks so much -- Chris.

CUOMO: Another big interview for the Nichols machine.

BALDWIN: The big daddy -- she is a machine -- big time.

Coming up on NEW DAY -- she is big time.

Speaking of big time, she's only been here a day and she's already "The Good Stuff". I'm talking about you.

Here is Brooke Baldwin showing some blazing speed down the first baseline.

Wow -- is this the good stuff?

BALDWIN: I singled. I singled at Fenway, people.

CUOMO: Look at you. You're looking at where you hit the ball.

BALDWIN: For the veterans.

CUOMO: Instead of where you're supposed to go.

BALDWIN: For the veterans -- Cuomo.


BALDWIN: It's time for "The Good Stuff" which I'm apparently hijacking from you.

CUOMO: Yes, high praise.

BALDWIN: Thank you for letting me share my good stuff with you. On Friday I was out playing hooky. I was playing softball. I had the honor to take part in the celebrity softball game at Fenway Park, the baseball Mecca.

PEREIRA: You got game?

BALDWIN: We'll get into that. It's to benefit the veterans. It was the first ever Fenway for the Fallen, helped raise the money for the Massachusetts, Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Heroes Memorial Fund. Roll it.


BALDWIN: How long were you in, where did you serve?

JEFF COMBS, VETERAN: Five and a half years, Marine Corps, in Iraq 2004 and Iraq again in 2006. I've never been to Fenway.

BALDWIN: You've never been to Fenway?

COMBS: Never been to Fenway. Never.

BALDWIN: Are you from Massachusetts?

COMBS: No, I'm actually from New York, born and raised. But I always wanted to come up here.

BALDWIN: This is like enemy turf?

COMBS: Yes, pretty much.

BALDWIN: Are you a Yankees' fan?

COMBS: I am. Yes.

BALDWIN: The interview is over.


CUOMO: What.

BALDWIN: Here is amazing -- This is my first and only at-bat at Fenway. It was a horrible -- it was like --


PEREIRA: You connected.

BALDWIN: But listen, I singled, I was called out heading to second base. If you would like to help Mass. Fallen Heroes, guys and gals, thank you so much for inviting me. MassFallenHeroes.Org

PEREIRA: Look, you didn't throw your bat which is also good, too.

BALDWIN: I did not.

INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: She connected kind of like here.

BALDWIN: Playing at Fenway, people.

CUOMO: Awesome.

PEREIRA: High five. Nice work.

CUOMO: You get big props, what a great cause. What a great cause. We'll put on the Web site of the organization so you can help and be like Brooke except at the plate.

BALDWIN: Except maybe a little --

CUOMO: All right. Let me just try and distract people from the horrible at-bat.

PEREIRA: It was not horrible.

BALDWIN: With a puppy dog.

CUOMO: It's beautiful. I kind of used the bat this weekend. But there's a new member of the Cuomo family. Meet Alabama. Here is a puppy little here. rescued from guess where? No, not Ohio. We got him -- a little lab mix, the kids deserved it. They did well, they did everything they were supposed to do. He's joined our little family and he's destroyed my ankles.

PEREIRA: Oh, and there go the shoes.

CUOMO: There he is. It's all the NEW DAY family experience. Wait till you see my ankles.

BALDWIN: Sweet home Alabama at the Cuomo house.

CUOMO: They literally hurt.

A lot of news this morning. Let's get you right the "NEWSROOM" with Miss Carol Costello. Don't take any joy in the fact that I'm in pain.