tv The 11th hour CNN December 3, 2013 8:00pm-8:31pm PST
. lilive loo live look tonight a stadium, home of the kansas city chiefs. what's happening there could change football as we know it. p a groa group of former ps that hits they took thousands ovp overover a career made d they're suing for millions. ththis is they're suing for millions. ththis i not just about the nf. it could affect your child's safety. it is 11:00 in the east. do you know where your news is? good evening, everyone. i'm don lemmon. p this is "ththis is "tt wop word on today's news an you will be talking about tomorrow. like like is football just ts play? wait until you hear the number
p of hiof hits an average takes. the knockout game. p is is it as bad as you'v? is it even real? . >p let let's get to all this. p if you believe the media abop about the so-called ga migp might might be scared tthe streets of a city like ne yorp york, liryork, like b. afraafraid you could be smacke tpthe head, knocked to the and left unconscious. tonight we're going behind the hype of the knockout game. starting with cnn's athina jones. >> right now you've heard of the knockout game. hard to miss all the media attention. >> violent national trend. >> teenagers knocking people out for the fun of. >> it some of it racially charged. >> another example of young black americans committing senseless crimes. >> attackers punching victims, knocking them down, and sometimes knocking them out cold. >> if somebody pulls a knife and stabs something is that the stabbing game?
no. these are serious assaults. now, have they been going on a long time? yeah. they're called sucker punches. >> why all the headlines now? it turns out random violent assaults like these have been reported in at least six states over the last three years. but a few recent cases captured on video, spread on social media, have made the knockout game inescapable. >> he just like threw a hook with his left hand and just caught me like right in the face. and he said wapow. >> a knockout attack killed this veet that meese man in st. louis. this surveillance video shows the suspects in a deadly new jersey attack walk away. in the midst of the intense media focus on these attacks, this new york city mother who asked us to disguise her face and voice now believes her 5-year-old son was a victim of the knockout game played by girls. >> he was a little shaken up. he was holding his head. and he said mom, i don't know. then he said, mom, i think those girls hit me in the head.
>> the assaults are frightening. federal law enforcement officials say the incidents are isolated and they consider them a local police issue. >> with social media now, we're seeing more of this show up. has this been going on? this has been going on for years. but now sometimes i think the media is hyping it up more than anything else. and is there some maybe a copycat syndrome going on here? there could possibly well be. >> for the 11th hour, athena jones, cnn, washington. >> appreciate that, athena. we know this is is no game. it's assault. philadelphia's mayor says he won't stand for it in his country. mayor michael nutter, welcome to "the 11th hour." i want to ask you a number of questions. give me quick answers, give me yes or nos or what have you and i promise we'll have a longer conversation after i ask you these questions. first of all how are you doing? >> i'm doing well. and i want to congratulate you, don, on this brand-new show. thanks for the invite. and i'll certainly be a 11th
hour watch. >> thank you. i appreciate that. mayor, do you think the knockout game is real? >> i'm not exactly sure what's real or not. what i do know is that unfortunately and as the previous person was talking about, spreading across social media are now video of these kinds of random physical attacks or assaults which is really what they are. if others choose to give it a particular name so be it. but i think the spread as we're seeming to experience it through the traditional media of these kind of incidents in cities all across the united states of america is of great concern. and so i'm less about the name, i'm more focused on these incidents. certainly want to prevent any of this kind of activity in philadelphia. and we won't stand for it. >> i understand that. so then if we're not sure that it's real and we're not sure because all the evidence is not in, why do you think there's all
the hype about it? >> well again, this is part of the challenge of the power of social media, certainly a 24/7 international news cycle. things go up, things get posted. unfortunately i think some young people have done some not so smart things that negatively impact someone else's life and certainly their own as well. if you continue to see it, day after day after day, multiple times throughout the course of the 24/7 news cycle, it becomes a thing. it becomes something that people talk about. it starts to become if you will a trend. and more and more young people who see this then you will get unfortunately some copycat incidents. laid out last week, we acknowledged that there may be some kind of issue going on across the country, not necessarily a philadelphia phenomenon. we don't have any absolute confirmed cases, but unfortunately people have been
assaulted in philadelphia. and again, whether it's this thing or not, i want to make sure folks know what's going on. >> do you think it's racially motivated? >> i don't know what's in the mind of a person that comes out through the course of an investigation. but i have to tell you, if you are attacked you really don't care at that moment quite frankly whether it was because of race or gender or sexual preference or orientation or anything else. you're hurt. you're injured. somebody would possibly be killed. we need to cut out. when you look at solomon jones here in philadelphia wrote just last week, that these young people unfortunately maybe mostly males, they're young, their testosterone flowing all over the place. they don't always make the best judgements. so what we're saying at least here in the city, parents pay attention to what's going on with your kids. young people, don't make a dumb mistake or incorrect choice that could negatively hurt someone and affect your life for the
rest of your life. law enforcement is paying attention. so again, this is not something to play with. i think you have to be proactive on it and walk that fine balance between giving something too much attention versus ignoring it. i think what we're trying to do at least is play it right down the middle, which is something may be going on. we want to alert the public to it. pay attention to what's going on around you. young people, cut it out before you get yourself in trouble. >> mayor nutter the mayor of philadelphia saying whether it's real or not he's not going to stand for it. it's assault regardless and you will be prosecuted. thank you for joining us on "the 11th hour." >> thank you, don. and congratulations. >> thank you very much. so we agree. hitting people in the hid is bad. but what about letting people hit your kids in the head over and over again? that's what happens to kids as young as 7 who play football. in a minute, the growing number of parents who say no way will my kid play. and how one nfl team is working
with moms to tackle the problem. [ male announcer ] here's a question for you. if every u.s. home replaced one light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb, the energy saved could light how many homes? 1 million? 2 million? 3 million? the answer is... 3 million homes. by 2030, investments in energy efficiency could help americans save $300 billion each year. take the energy quiz. energy lives here.
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but we'd really like our truck back, so if you see it, let us know, would you? thanks. what? so americans don't agree on a lot but we agree we do love football. that is a fact. here's another fact for you. football is a brutal dangerous game. too dangerous for kids? some moms think so. deborah feyerick, is that why
the kansas city chiefs are trying to win moms over tonight? >> reporter: they're trying to win over moms, dads, the children themselves. these are clinics being held all across the country sponsored for the usaa football and nfl. the goal is to teach kids how to play smarter. >> these moms have spent countless hours on the sidelines watching their children play football. today in kansas city at the arrowhead stadium it was their turn. learning from the pros a safer way to tackle. not with the head but with the shoulders. >> there you go. that's beautiful. >> reporter: betty ken sohn spent eight years with the kansas city chiefs as a wide receiver. he's working with the nonprofit growl usa football and the nfl as part of a heads up program. >> i'm going to hit you here with my head on the side. not head-to-head. i lean in with my shoulder with
an elbow to be able to tackle you that way. >> so the impact is here as opposed to head and neck. >> correct. >> you played for a lot of teams. that is what you were taught growing up? >> no. >> what were you taught? >> i was taught separate because from the guy with the ball. >> we go to football games, we like that. just not allowed to play. >> reporter: every seen, 13-year-old charles raynone asks his parents if he can join the school football team. every year the answer is no. >> give than you yourself played football is it difficult to say no to your son that he can't play? >> absolutely. it's a great game, great team sport. >> reporter: millions of children across the country play tackle football. but all the talk of concussions and long-term brain injuries, especially among pro football players suing the nfl, has many parents questioning whether it's truly safe for their kids to play.
charles, 5'8", 185 pound and a star baseball player, says his middle school coaches are eager to recruit him. >> you would be a prized catch on any football team. do they press you to play? >> yeah. so i'll come home with -- i would tell them i'm not allowed to play. >> reporter: charles is not alone in last several years there's been roughly a 10% drop in the number of kids playing football. now football is trying to tackle the problem head on. neurologist dr. jeffrey kutcher treats concussions in athletes from peewees to pros, and says changing tackling methods is a positive start. >> are we hitting just to hit? or are we teaching good technique? what is the minimum amount of hit week need to do in practice, in other words, to create football player whose can protect themselves on the field? >> reporter: easier said than done. one study found players as young as 7 take as many as 80 hits to the head. a number that triples in boys 9
through 12 who absorb almost 240 hits each season. researchers at boston university estimate that every season your average high school football player takes 1,000 blows to the head. >> is there anything that the nfl could do to convince you that your son would be okay if he plays? >> no. honestly, no. that's part of the game. that's what the game is. there's hits. there's tackles. there's ten guys on top of you. how could you protect my son with ten guys on top of him? >> reporter: charles' dad charlie, who still hurts from injuries he got playing high school and college football, believes you can only change the game so much. >> do you think the nfl is now discouraging these sort of direct hits? >> no. no. no way. >> why not? >> because it's entertainment. and people want to see that big
collision. they want to see that hit. i mean, that's why you watch the games. you jump out of your seat when you see a collision like oh, my god. that's what people want. >> now the moms who were here tonight at arrowhead stadium, one of the reasons it's a very football-friendly crowd. but they said look they need to not only be on the side lins but to instruct their kids to play a better more smart game. but we did speak to the senior vice president of health and safety for the nfl. he said look, there's not a single piece of equipment that ultimately is going to prevent head injuries. but again, changes he believes will help. and this clinic took place on the very same day that five more players with the kansas city chiefs actually filed a lawsuit saying the current lawsuit is simply not enough, that it's just the tip of the iceberg, that it deals with the severe cases, not the other cases which ultimately will come down the
road. don? >> deb faorah feyerick, thanks that segue. we're going to turn to chris martin, one of the former players suing the kansas city chiefs and kent is his attorney. chris you and your wife are plaintiffs in this lawsuit against the kansas city chiefs. why are you suing after the $765 million settlement with the nfl? >> well, i really didn't feel that the nfl lawsuit addressed my needs and my issues of my family. so that's why i sought out different counsel. >> what is your complaint against the team? >> well, the number win complaint is negligence. that if you give me an opportunity to know what's happening as far as concussions and tell me that having a concussion and going back on the field is a good thing, then that information wasn't given to me. i couldn't make a good educated decision on going back on the
field. so that's my main primary complaint? so that information you feel you say was not given to you. i want to ask your attorney, ken mcclain, you know, the team and many are saying listen some of these players were playing long before the knew the repercussions of getting hit in the head and concussions and what have you. why file this lawsuit when the league has given $765 million to players? why weren't the five players part of that settlement? >> the 765 million, don, is rare illusory in nature. paid out over 20 years. if you just do the present value calculation, that's under 500 million. you spread that out, it's about $20 million a year. these players are not included based upon the public releases about what the settlement will cover other than medical monitoring to in order to recover any significant monies through the lawsuit you have to have dementia or other major cognitive difficulties. so most of the players that are
going to be included within the lawsuit are going to receive no compensation. that's number one. number two, going back to the 1930s, warnings in the medical literature existed that successive concussions would cause permanent injuries. football recognized this and yet didn't respond to it until just the last few years. specifically the kansas city chiefs were involved in the concussion studies that the national football league sponsored going back into the 1980s that pooh-poohed the dangers of concussions and in fact implemented that as a policy to the team. and when chris and the other players we represent were in fact playing encouraged them to go back into games after that'd had concussions. that clearly contributed to the problems that they're facing. >> listen, ken, i think our viewers should know that the only reason that you are able to do this in kansas city is because of the way the law is. there's a loophole in the law in missouri that you're able to file this suit. because in most other states,
t they can't do it. chris, do you think kids should play football? >> i think given the information i think it should be left up to their parents. as far as kids playing, there is information that basically or research that basically says they shouldn't play until 14. so i just think that each parent should judge it based on their child. >> yeah. would you let your kids play? >> yes. >> you would? thank you, ken. thank you, chris. we reached out to the kansas city chiefs. they have no comment on the lawsuit at this time. in a minute i'm going to talk to a doctor with the nfl and to a woman whose player-husband killed himself and was later found to have brain disease. [ male announcer ] this is george. the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪
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dr. joseph maroon, because of the lure most players don't ask questions. should they? >> of course they should ask questions, and quite frankly they do ask questions. they're questions that have been asked over the last several years but perhaps not as many as should have been asked in the past. >> the lawsuit filed today against the kansas city chiefs covers years 1987 to 1993. cap you explain the cultural shift that you have seen in the nfl concerning concussions over your long career? >> sure. there has been a major cultural shift in 1970s, 80s, even early 90s, the main concern neurologically was when an athlete had a concussion he didn't also have a concomitant
intercrane hemorrhage. kind of tnatasha richardson syndrome. injury that is could occur and had to be taken very seriously and obviated and prevented. the time of concussion awareness for most players and most teams really started in the 90s. when at that time coach chuck noel of the pittsburgh steelers challenged us when we said we couldn't let a player go back because of concussion. he said why? and i said, because guidelines say that you should stay out of football for at least a few days or a week or so depending on the severity. he said i want objective data. that's when mark lovell, a neuropsychologist and i, came up with a concept of a neurocognitive test. a pen and pencil and subsequently computer-based test on impact that allows an individual to have a baseline and then subsequently evaluated. this wasn't until the 90s that this occurred.
we've now baselined over 4.5 million kids at all levels of sports, including the nfl and nhl and major league baseball. so there's a major cultural shift. >> i'm glad you bring up kids. because you saw the clinic they were having at arrowhead stadium there in kansas city. do you think it's safe for kids to play football? >> i think it's never been safer for kids to play football. let me just read you a quote from the white house conference. it said "unless the brutality and danger to the lives of the players is reduced, the sport of football is potentially doomed." i think from watching what you said, many of the people who were commented on this would agree with that. this statement was made at the white house in 1905. and it led to major changes in protection for athletes. i think we're in another tipping point, if you would, in which -- >> doctor, we've got to run. thank you very much. i appreciate what you're saying. we're at a tipping point where
we need to make a difference. i want to talk to someone now who knows all about that. alicia doreson, your husband what a former chicago bear who killed himself. you later found out that he had brain disease. do you think your husband dave knew of the long-term risks when he was playing? >> no, not at all. no one talked to us about long-term risk or the safety of when you get hit, the concussions, what could happen. no, he did not know. >> he didn't know. >> no. >> so your husband shot himself in the heart. >> correct. >> rather than in the head because he knew something was wrong. internally he knew something was wrong. and the people who helped you and helped people looking at his brain to realize that there was something wrong and it was possibly from all the hits he took playing football. >> correct. he took a lot of hits playing football. david was a strong safety with the national football league and
he was all-pro five times. he took a lot of hits and gave a lot of hits. >> people should say you should know the risks. these guys know the risks when they're playing here but i'm not sure they did. can you explain what the last ten years it's been like for you and the last part of your husband's life? >> the last part of dave's life was -- the last ten years was just really hard for him. because we had no idea what he was going through. he knew something was wrong, but there were no guidelines, there was no one talking about it, no one saying look for this symptom, look for that. so if you can imagine just being normal, then all of a sudden your brain shifts on you and you can't remember simple things, easy things. you don't know what's going on with you. and you're young. so it's not like you could say you're having alzheimer's or something. you just don't know. >> yeah. we thank you for joining us, and
we'll be watching this story very closely here on cnn. thank you again. >> thank you. tomorrow on "the 11th hour" wage war. wage war. can anyone live on what you make at walmart or mcdonald's? could you? or are you willing to pay the price of giving everybody a living wage? that's it for us tonight. bro brooke baldwin "in case you missed it" starts right now. good evening, i'm brooke baldwin and welcome to our new program called" icymi." our mission here is to comb through every single story cnn has been covering all day all over the world to bring you the very best moments of what we do. these moments when the meaning of the story suddenly becomes clear and they only happen a few times each and every day. the reason we do what we do. like the one picture. so powerful. out of all of our dozens of video feeds in which the image of self