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tv   Unguarded With Rachel Nichols  CNN  September 19, 2014 10:30pm-11:01pm PDT

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making great music and continues to show that he is one of the best performers in the business, there is no reason why that won't be the legacy of chris brown. >> there's a million artists out there, but the chris browns of the world are very few. after a week of silence, nfl commissioner roger goodell finally talks. i let myself down, i let everybody else down and for that, i i'm sorry. >> hall of fame quarterback jim kelly on fighting for his life and that fateful day doctors told him he had jaw cancer. >> tears started coming out. how am i going to tell my daughters? how am i going to tell my wife? >> and another hall of famer e, jerry rice weighs in on the nfl's domestic violence cases.
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>> it's really disappointing to me. because i believe when you wear that nfl logo, you have to represent the nfl in a certain way. >> welcome to "unguarded." it has been another week of scandals in the nfl. fans are outraged, sponsors are pulling away, and yet new incidents accompanied by police reports have just kept coming. after nine days out of the public eye, commissioner roger goodell finally gave a news conference this afternoon. take a listen. >> at our best, the nfl sets an example that makes a positive difference. >> unfortunately over the fast sever -- past several weeks, we have seen too much of the nfl doing wrong. that starts with me. i got it wrong in the handling
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of the ray rice matter. and i'm sorry for that. i got it wrong on a number of levels, from the process that i led, to the decision that i reached. but now i will get it right and do whatever is necessary to accomplish that. we will implement new conduct policies. they will have a set of clear and transparent rules for league and club personnel, owners and players. >> now, roejer goodell's news conference lasted about 45 minutes. you want to give him credit for finally standing in that open forum and asking pretty pointed sections. the session closed before another damaging report came out, this time from espn alleging that the ravens were complicit in a cover-up that they knew how bad the ray rice incident really was the whole time. we're going to have to wait and see the repercussions of that, but goodell did address other
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issues, namely that the nfl will be consulting with a panel of experts to completely revamp the personal conduct policy. that's a policy that covers the way players are punished, who does the pinnishing. remember right now, it is roger goodell who has soul power in that area. he is judge, jury and executioner. so i asked him today what might change. >> roger, you had pretty extreme unilateral power in deciding discipline. as you said a few times you've gotten it wrong in a few cases. and that tends to happen when there's no checks and balances. how willing are you to give up some of that power and do you think that would be the right thing for you to do? >> well, rachel, as i said in my statement, everything is on the table. we're going to make sure that we look at every aspect of the process of how we gather information to make a decision, how we make that decision and then the appeals process. and all that's on the table and all of that is important information that we want outside
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experts to give us perspective on and see if there's a better way to do it. we believe there is and we believe we need it. we can't continue to operate like this. >> all right, so now i want to bring in one of the other big names at the center of this crisis. demorris smith is the executive director of the nfl players association. welcome. >> thank you. >> so we heard roger goodell there talking about making a significant overhaul of the personal conduct policy. what do you think of that? and is the union going to have any say in how that shakes sn t snout. >> well, the personal conduct policy is something that roger and i have spent a tremendous amount of time talking about, perhaps not necessarily agreeing about. but hearing that they intend to have a discussion about overhauling that system is something that the union will have to be a part of. >> year round, you guys are really the nerve center for the players in the nfl. if they need something, they call you. if they get in trouble, they call you. so what has it been like inside your offices for the past two weeks? >> well, first and foremost, the
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message coming from our players is that 99%, the overwhelming majority of our players are good husbands, good fathers, good members of their community. and yes, we do have an occasion where people engage in misconduct an we hate that. i hate what it means for the relationships that they're in. but i know it doesn't represent the majority of the players? >> and as all these cases have developed, one of the biggest frustrations the public has had is the nfl seems to be deciding these with an etch-a-sketch, scribble something out, then there's backlash, shake and erase and scribble something else out. why do you think that's been such a problem, especially with the public trust here? >> well look, you not only want to do something to address the issue, but i think you always want to do it in a way where you are making sure that people understand that there is a right process.
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that people have a belief in the fundamental fairness and justice of the process. >> there's nothing to have faith in right now. if you're on the sidelines watching this. >> have faith in the players. we're going to get this right. and that is one of the reasons why we've been thinking about what to do to educate and provide leadership to our players. the things that we need, i think, to address in the discipline process system. but have faith in the players. and i have faith in them. i have the pleasure of having this job and i know we're going to get it right. >> thanks for joining us. we will all be watching closely as this situation unfolds, for sure. >> thanks for having me. >> how about changing things up now with a good news football story. you will want to stay with us after this break. a very emotional interview with hall of fame quarterback jim kelly. kelly describes his triumph of over cancer and the people who helped him along the way. >> to see their faces, and to see them cheer and know they came here for me, i needed that.
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>> i'm rachel nichols. welcome back to "unguarded." jim kelly was elected to the hall of fame after a spectacular career that included four consecutive super bowl appearances. but it's how spectacular a person he is that he's long won the hearts of fans. they were with him a decade ago as his young son went through a very public illness before passing away. and they were with him over this past year as kelly himself battled two different forms of can cancer. finally, just a few weeks ago, his family got the news they were waiting for. kelly's doctors declared him cancer free. shortly afterwards, he sat down with us.
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>> congratulations. what did it feel like to sit in that doctor's office and hear those words. >> oh, it was without a doubt encredible. just to tell the family that everything came back negative, that there was no signs of cancer from the parts that were radiated. yeah, it definitely makes you feel good. >> it has been such a special couple of months for you. you got to participate in your football camp. you got to go to the hall of fame. what was it like flipping that hall of fame jacket on again. did it fit? >> no. when i knew i lost 50 pounds, i said i better try some of my clothes on. i wear sweats a lot. so i put that jacket on, my brother looks at me and he says grady what's up? you look like grady wilson from
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"sanford and sons." that jacket is so big. i started laughing. i looked in the mirror and go oh, my goodness. so i had to go get my hall of fame jacket taken in. >> your former teammate andre reed was inducted. and it was great. he used part of his speech, his time up there to talk about you. >> but the toughest individual i've ever met in my life is jim kelly, number 12. jim, you endured a lot in your life. the loss of a son and most recently, your battle with cancer. you're an inspiration to all those you touch. >> when did that toughness really form for you? when did you realize how tough you really were? >> i don't know. probably growing up in a family of six boys. my dad was a boxer, so we would box in the garage. he would put football helmets on us and we would beat the heck out of each other.
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i got that then i started doing it with my daughters. >> you didn't put them in a football helmet and box with them, did you? >> no. >> okay, just checking. >> but when my daughters would fall down and i would say you're not hurt, i would say get up, you'll be all right. you'll be tough. >> you used that expression kelly tough throughout your treatment. it really became a rallying cry. what do you remember from the moment the conversations, when you first heard those words, you have cancer when the doctor first told you. >> it was tough on me. i noticed when he came over and started talking, he turned to shut the door. when he shut the door, i knew it wasn't going to be good news. i walked out of the doctor's office and got into the car, tears started coming out. how am i going to tell my daughters? how am i going to tell my wife? >> chemotherapy, 35 radiation treatments. is that as brutal as it sounds? >> when i was going through the first parts of my chemo and my radiation, it was hard.
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at times there's six, seven bags hooked up. >> every 15 minutes, i was throwing up. and that was probably the toughest part for my wife because she saw what i was going through. and there were times when she didn't know if i was going to make it because i was in bad shape. >> how did the experiences you have with your son influence you during your treatment? he had died at the age of 8. >> one of the things that probably hurt my wife a little bit when i spoke about, well, maybe the good lord wants me to see hunter before you do. and she said don't ever say that. and i told her, hunter, i want to see you, buddy. but i'm not done yet. >> not done yet indeed. please stay with us through this break. we' got a lot more from jim kelly, including the help he got from a long-time rival dolphins
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welcome back to "unguarded." we've been talking to hall of fame jim kelly about battling the cancer that spread to his
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jaw, cheekbone and nasal cavity. he is now cancer free, but as he describes, it was quite a battle to get there. >> what were some of the specific goals that you kept in mind in the hospital? >> just get through it and be strong. >> there were times when i was by myself i wasn't very strong because when you're by yourself, you start thinking. you're thinking too much. i don't care if i'm a football player, kelly tough, whatever it is. i needed some support mentally. >> what? >> and then my family would come, which was most of the time, it would take my mind off of it. >> just in time. >> dan marino walking through that hospital door must have been quite a sight. >> i never in a million years thought that the outcry, the
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support that i've gotten. i mean, i had people like burt reynolds call me. rick flair, the wrestler called me. >> and then the day you left the hospital, the amazing group of people who were waiting outside for you clapping. what was that like? >> they were a lot of my friends from buffalo. and i was probably at the worst part of my physical being, how i felt. i had no injury. i lost 51 pounds. i felt terrible. i was hurting. my face was radiated so bad that it was just completely horrible. but to see their face, to see their cheering and know they came there for me, i needed that. thank you, guys. >> now, you were showing off to me that you don't have to shave 1/2 of your face anymore. i know they gave you a prosthetic jaw. and that thing pops out, is that
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right? >> yeah. they pretty much removed my whole upper jaw up into my nasal academy. lost 75% of my hearing. and from 35 radiation treatments, it has pretty much taken all the hair on off the side of my face. >> do you ever take the jaw out to scare your children or anything? >> it's funny you asked that. when i first had my jaw replaced, i told my wife, don't worry, i will never take it out in front of you. guess how long it took me? >> half a day? >> pretty close. i would say a day. it probably was only half a day. and then i have a little thing where -- and i'll never do it on camera, sorry about that. but i take it out and my kids call me j.k. swag because my personality totally changes. i joke with them. i used to chase them around the room. but i feel good now. except i'm not used to being
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weak and frail. i lost a lot of my shoulder, my chest, my arms. i hate feeling weak. but i'm slowly get into the process of building myself back up. and i know it's going to take a long time. but i'm alive still. and that's the main thing. >> amazing story. now, you heard kelly say this is all still a process. he still is experiencing some pain and he's considering having an additional procedure on some of the tissue near his brain. first, though, he's spending some time enjoying his family and his new lease on life. from one hall-of-famer to another. coming .up, we've got san francisco 49ers legend jerry rice. and he's got some strong feelings on the crisis in the nfl and what roger goodell should do next. >> we've been known as the type of commissioner to really put the hammer down. i think he needs to do that now. [ female announcer ] you get sick, you can't breathe through your nose...
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>> i'm rachel nichols, welcome back to "unguarded." if the events the last couple weeks sometimes make it hard to remember what you love about football, my next guest will remind you. jerry rice is considered the greatest wide receiver to ever play the game. his career was synonymous with the words elegance and class. so when we spoke earlier, i wanted his take on the crisis facing the nfl. take a listen. >> you were a hall-of-famer. you love this game as much as anyone. so what has it been like for you of all people to turn on the tv every day can, hear incident after incident that's fatarnishg your snort. >> it's disit.ing to me. i feel when you wear the nfl logo. when that's on your helmet and you have to represent the nfl a certain way, and that's on the
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football field and also off the football field. >> and the man most under fire right now isn't even the player s. it may be commissioner roger goodell. what's your take on how he's handled everything. >> roger has been known as that type of commissioner to really put the hammer down. i think he needs to do that now. and let the players know that there are consequences if you are -- you're not representing the nfl the right way. >> and it is complicated. your old team, the 49ers are front and center because they let ray mcdonald play even after he was arrested in a domestic violence incident with his pregnant fiancee. that decision has been criticized from the mayor of san francisco, from your old quarterback steve young, but then you have coach jim harbaugh insisting he does have a right to play until he's charged. what do you think? >> i'm with steve young. ray mcdonald should be off that football field. he should not have the opportunity to continue playing right now.
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zmesic violence, you know, it's a very touchy conversation, but it's something that we have to address and we have to deal with. >> yeah. and there has been so much bad nfl news lately. but there's been some nice moments springled in there. especially with you over the summer, we saw you back in san francisco with guys like steve young and joe montana. you had that cool final football game at candlestick park. and now you're work on this project with lie sol. you're going to coach a high school team in houston. not just on football, but on healthy habits like nutrition and exercise. first of all, how does it sound to you when someone says coach rice? >> i'm trying to get used to it. everything i worked for over the years, it was about the way i treated my body, nutrition wise, you know, eating right, doing all the right things. so that's the word that i'm trying to spread to the younger generation. >> it can get tricky when we talk about health and football. the nfl recently admitted nearly
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3 in 10 national football league players will develop debilitating brain conditions like dementia. 3 in 10. does that change how you feel about encouraging kids to play this game? >> to be honest with you, my son right now, he's trying to play in the nfl. and i'm going to support him 100%. i think throughout the process, what's happening now with the nfl trying to do is to really protect the players. and yeah, we still no ethat it's a gladiator sport and it's very physical, but i think the officials are doing an excellent job on trying to cut down on those plays. >> so give me the pitch. with all of the things that are challenging about the sport right now, why should we still love football. >> even though you've got guys right now that have come to the forefront and not doing the right things. you still have another percentage of guys, being out there in the community, setting the right example and they're doing the right things off the football field.
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>> he's certainly right. there's so many good stories in the nfl. let's hope next week there are fewer bad ones. all right, that's going to be our show for tonight. you can follow me on twitter and facebook. where the end of the game is just the start of the story. good night. on this end , "death row stories." an accused soldier that can't convince his own lawyer. >> i thought he was guilty. >> until the prosecution's case falls apart. >> the state's primary witness says i feel like i'm sending an innocent man to prison. >> a shocking twist makes legal history. >> i got something to tell you.

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