TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

The last remnants of New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge were demolished today. We have the backstory and what happens next. It’s been ten years since “the miracle on the Hudson.” It was a frigid day that saw triumph over tragedy, in what could have been a major disaster. We’ll speak with one of the passengers of U.S. Airways flight 1549 and discuss the bird threat to aircrafts that still exists today. She is the most powerful woman in New York politics that you may not know. State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has shattered more than the glass ceiling with her ascent in the capital. She joins us. LGBTQ athletes are radically changing the game and claiming their equality on the field. Outsports’ Cyd Zeigler takes us inside the fight and “Fair Play.”

Aired on January 15, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS' -- A HISTORIC DAY IN NEW YORK, AS THE LAST REMNANTS OF THE TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE GO OUT WITH A BANG.

IT'S BEEN TEN YEARS SINCE THE MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON, A FRIGID DAY THAT SAW TRIUMPH OVER WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN A MAJOR AIR DISASTER TRAGEDY.

IN A MOMENT, ONE OF THE PASSENGERS OF THE FLIGHT SHARES HER MEMORIES OF THAT FATEFUL DAY.

AND WE DISCUSS THE SERIOUS THREAT THAT BIRDS POSE TO AIR TRAVEL.

SHE'S THE MOST POWERFUL WOMAN IN NEW YORK POLITICS.

ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS HAS SHATTERED MORE THAN ONE GLASS CEILING.

AND LBGTQ CHANGING THE GAME AND CLAIMING THEIR EQUALITY ON THE FIELD.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM, III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY --

> WE HAVE THE MOST SOCIALLY PROGRESSIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF ANY STATE IN THE NATION, AND IT'S NOT EVEN CLOSE.

FIRST BIG STATE TO PASS MARRIAGE EQUALITY.

FIRST STATE TO PASS $15, THE HIGHEST MINIMUM WAGE.

THE MOST AGGRESSIVE BUILDING AGENDA IN THE STATE.

A NATIONAL CHAMPION FOR ORGANIZED LABOR, WHICH IS UNDER ATTACK BY THIS ADMINISTRATION AND HAS A FRIEND IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK.

THE NATION LEADING ENVIRONMENTAL AGENDA.

THE FIRST FREE COLLEGE TUITION PROGRAM.

THAT'S NEW YORK.

THE BEST PAID FAMILY LEAVE PROGRAM IN THE NATION.

AND A LEADER ON GUN SAFETY.

THAT'S THE STATE OF NEW YORK, AND THAT'S WHAT YOU'VE DONE.

[ APPLAUSE ]

> GOOD EVENING.

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

BEFORE GOVERNOR CUOMO DELIVERED HIS STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS, THE LAST REMNANTS OF THE OLD TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE WENT OUT WITH A BOOM TODAY.

A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME EVENT THAT DEVIATED FROM ITS ORIGINAL PLAN DUE TO WEATHER AND INSTABILITY.

SOMETHING WHICH MAY CONTINUE TO DISMANTLE THE STRUCTURE UNSAFE!

[ EXPLOSION ] THIS MORNING, THE BUTTON WAS PUSHED, EXPLOSIVES ACTIVATED, AND THE EAST ANCHOR SPAN MET ITS FINAL FATE, COLLAPSING INTO A SET OF NETS HELD UP BY BUOYS.

AND NOW, ALONG WITH OTHER ICONIC STRUCTURES, THE TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE IS JUST PART OF CITY FOLKLORE.

PRIOR TO TODAY'S DETONATION, THE U.S. COAST GUARD ESTABLISHED A 2500 FOOT SAFETY RADIUS, AND THIS WERE NO RESIDENTIAL HOMES WITHIN THAT SAFETY ZONE.

BUT IT WAS STILL A SIGHT TO BEHOLD.

THE TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE, WHICH HAD BEEN HANDLING 140,000 VEHICLES A DAY, FAR MORE THAN IT WAS DESIGNED TO ACCOMMODATE, WAS UP FOR 64 YEARS, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS ACTUALLY DESIGNED TO LAST 50 YEARS BECAUSE OF MATERIAL SHORTAGES.

IN 2013, THE FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION CLASSIFIED THE TAPPAN ZEE BRIDGE FUNCTIONALLY OBSOLETE.

AFTER YEARS OF DISCUSSION, CONSTRUCTION STARTED ON THE STATE OF THE ART $4 BILLION GOVERNOR MARIO CUOMO BRIDGE.

YES, TODAY WAS A DAY TO REMEMBER.

BUT THERE'S ANOTHER REASON WHY TODAY WAS MEMORABLE.

THAT'S BECAUSE IT WAS EXACTLY TEN YEARS AGO THAT THE MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON OCCURRED.

THAT, OF COURSE, REFERS TO THE LANDING OF US AIRWAYS FLIGHT 1549 BY PILOT SULLENBERGER ON THE SUDDON AFTER A BIRD STRIKE CAUSED THE ENGINE FAILURE.

THERE'S A NEW DOCUMENTARY CALLED 'BIRD VERSUS PLANE: MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON,' AND HERE'S A PREVIEW.

IN 2009, A MIRACLE ON NEW YORK'S HUDSON RIVER SEIZES THE WORLD'S ATTENTION.

BEHIND THE SCENES, AN EXTRAORDINARY SCENE.

THIS IS THE INSIDE STORY OF THE QUEST TO SOLVE THE MIRACLE ON THE SUDDEN.

I HAPPENED TO LOOK UP.

THERE WAS THE FEATHER.

NOW, AS OUR SKIES GET BUSIER, AN ARMY OF EXPERTS ARE RACING TO SOLVE THE BIRD STRIKE PROBLEM.

WE ARE GOING TO LEARN HOW.

BEFORE DISASTER STRIKES.

WE REALLY HAVE TO PLAN FOR THE WORST CASE SCENARIO, BECAUSE WE MAY NOT BE SO LUCKY THE NEXT TIME.

JOINING US NOW IS DENISE LOCKHEED, WHO WAS A PASSENGER ON THAT FLIGHT, AND ASH POTTERSON, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF 'BIRD VERSUS PLANE: MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON.'

THANK YOU BOTH FOR JOINING US TODAY.

A PLEASURE TO HAVE YOU HERE.

DENISE, LET ME BEGIN WITH YOU.

WHEN DID YOU SENSE YOU WERE ON THAT PLANE, JUST A REGULAR SI, REGULAR FRIGHT, WHEN DID YOU SENSE SOMETHING WAS AMISS?

WE WERE ON TAKEOFF, AND LEAVING LaGUARDIA, AFTER THE SHUTTER AND THE UNUSUAL SOUND AND THE SMELL THAT INFILTRATED THE AIRCRAFT --

THERE WAS A SMELL?

A HORRIBLE SMELL.

I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS AT THE TIME.

I KNEW THAT SOMETHING WAS NOT QUITE RIGHT.

AND I THOUGHT, WELL, OKAY, SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THE ENGINE.

WE'LL TURN AROUND AND GO BACK, WE HAVE TWO ENGINES, WE'LL BE OKAY.

THEN I STARTED TO SEE DEAD SILENCE.

WOW.

WE HAD NO ENGINE, SO I KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING THAT WASN'T RIGHT.

SO CAPTAIN SULLENBERGER ANNOUNCED, GET READY FOR A CRASH LANDING?

HE ONLY CAME ON ONCE, HE SAID THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN, BRACE FOR IMPACT.

AT THAT TIME, WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY IDEA THAT IT WAS A BIRD STRIKE.

I THOUGHT IT WAS SOMETHING ELSE.

AS A LOT OF OTHER PASSENGERS DID.

I THOUGHT IT WAS A POSSIBLE TERROR ATTACK.

REALLY?

SO WHAT WAS THE -- WHAT WAS IT LIKE IN THE CABIN?

WERE PEOPLE CALM AND COLLECTED OR WERE PEOPLE FREAKING OUT?

THERE WAS A COMBINATION OF BOTH.

THERE WAS PEOPLE THAT WERE SCREAMING.

THERE WAS PEOPLE THAT WERE CRYING, PEOPLE TRYING TO REACH THEIR LOVED ONES.

I WAS IN THE FRONT OF THE PLANE, AND MY SEAT MATE, MARK HOOD, REALLY TOOK CARE OF ME.

I WAS VERY ON SERVANT.

I WATCHED ALL THE PASSENGERS JUST TO SEE WHAT THEY WERE DOING.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WERE SAFE?

ONCE WE LANDED, I THOUGHT WE WENT IN NOSE FIRST, WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE.

BUT THE WAY WE HIT, THE IMPACT AND THE WATER COMING UP.

I SAT IN MY SEAT AFTER THE PLANE CAME TO REST, I IMMEDIATELY THOUGHT THE PLANE WAS GOING TO BREAK UP OR WE WERE GOING TO HAVE AN EXPLOSION WITH THE JET FUEL.

AND THEN THERE WAS ALSO THE SURVIVAL FACTOR AND GETTING INTO THE COLDEST DAY OF THE YEAR AS FAR AS HYPOTHERMIA.

SO NO, I WASN'T CERTAIN I WOULD SURVIVE.

ASH, LET ME TURN TO YOU.

IT NEVER DAWNED ON ME THAT A BIRD OR FLOCK OF BIRDS COULD TAKE DOWN A BIG COMMERCIAL JET AIRPLANE.

WHAT MAKES THESE PLANES SO VULNERABLE TO SUCH A THING?

THE AIRCRAFT ENGINES JUST AREN'T DESIGNED TO WITHSTAND IMPACT FROM MULTIPLE OF A 7 TO 10 POUND BIRD.

AND THE OTHER FACTOR TO BEAR IN MIND, IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE JET AGE, JET AIRCRAFT TENDED TO HAVE FOUR ENGINES.

NOW I THINK IT'S 95% OF THEM ONLY HAVE TWO.

WELL, ONE OF THEM SAID IN THE FILM, YOU TAKE ONE ENGINE OUT, IT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR THE PILOT.

YOU TAKE TWO OUT AND AN AIRCRAFT BECOMES A GLIDER.

AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE DOCUMENTARY FOCUSES ON THE EFFORT TO FIND OUT WHAT KIND OF BIRD IT WAS THAT CRASHED INTO THE 1549.

WHY WAS THAT CRITICAL?

IT WAS IMPORTANT TO ESTABLISH WHERE THE ENGINES ON THAT AIRCRAFT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO WITHSTAND THE IMPACT FROM A PARTICULAR -- FROM THE SIZE OF BIRD THAT IT WAS.

NOW, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, THE INVESTIGATIVE TEAM AT THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION FEATHER LAB HAD TO DETERMINE WHAT SPECIES OF BIRD IT WAS.

CAPTAIN SULLENBERGER REPORTED HITTING GEESE.

BUT THEY COULDN'T NECESSARILY TAKE HIS WORD FOR THAT, SO THEY HAD TO PROVE THAT.

BUT EVEN WITHIN GEESE, THERE WERE TWO TYPES OF GEESE.

YOU HAD THE PRBROWNS, WERE WERE GEESE, AND YOU HAD THE MUCH LARGER CANADA GOOSE, BETWEEN SEVEN TO TEN POUNDS.

SO IT WAS IMPORTANT TO ESTABLISH WHICH OF THOSE TWO DIFFERENT SIZE OF BIRDS IT WAS.

SHOULD OUR VIEWERS, WHO ARE GOING TO BE FLYING PLANES, FEEL RELATIVELY SECURE THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE ANOTHER MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON OR WORSE?

WHAT WE DISCOVERED IS THAT ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW, THIS IS -- THE NUMBER OF BIRD STRIKES IS ON THE RISE.

THERE ARE, ON AVERAGE, EVERY DAY 40 CIVILIAN AIRCRAFT THAT ARE INVOLVED IN BIRD STRIKES IN AMERICA ALONE.

NOT ONLY THAT, THERE ARE MORE AND MORE BIRDS THAT ARE HALIVIN AROUND URBAN AREAS.

BUT IT'S IMPORTANT TO SAY THE MAJORITY OF BIRD STRIKES DON'T RESULT IN AN AIRCRAFT CRASHING.

DENISE, SOMETHING WATCHING AND EXPERIENCES SOMETHING LIKE YOU DID, WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE?

I THINK THE KEY IN ALL OF AVIATION IS SAFETY.

IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR CREW AND TO THE SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS.

YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO EXIT ABAIRCRAFT WITHIN 90 SECONDS.

I'M SO GLAD YOU'RE HERE AND SURVIVED.

ME TOO.

IT'S A WOLF NDERFUL DOCUMENT.

'BIRD VERSUS PLANE: MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON' PREMIERES TONIGHT AT 9:00 P.M. ON THE SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL.

> I'M MATT RYAN, MANAGING EDITOR AND 'METROFOCUS' CONTRIBUTOR.

THE SENATE DEMOCRATS MADE IT OFFICIAL ELECTING ANDREA STEWART-COUSINS AS THEIR MAJORITY LEADER.

SHE WILL BE THE FIRST WOMAN AND FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN TO LEAD THE CHAMBER.

KAREN DEWITT SAT DOWN WITH HER RECENTLY IN THE SENATOR'S YONKERS OFFICE TO DISCUSS WHAT LIES AHEAD FOR THE DEMOCRATS.

SO WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THIS KIND OF BIG SWEEP TO?

WAS THE ELECTION ALL ABOUT PRESIDENT TRUMP AND RESISTANCE TO HIS POLICIES THAT HELPED THE DEMOCRATS SO MUCH THIS YEAR?

I THINK CERTAINLY THAT WAS A VERY, VERY LARGE PART OF IT.

WHEN PEOPLE WOKE UP AFTER THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 2016 AND REALIZED THAT -- AND AS I SAID, ALWAYS KNOW THAT WHETHER YOU'RE A REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT, YOU DID NOT EXPECT THIS OUTCOME.

AND HAVING COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THIS WOULD BE A FOUR-YEAR OUTCOME, PEOPLE STARTED LOOKING AT OTHER LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT AND TOOK A LOOK AT THEIR STATE LEGISLATURE.

MANY PEOPLE WERE SURPRISED THAT IN A 'BLUE STATE' THE STATE SENATE WAS STILL NOT BLUE.

SO THE ATTENTION TURNED TOWARDS WHAT WERE SOME OF THE REASONS FOR THAT, WHAT WERE SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT WERE UNABLE TO MOVE FORWARD, AND THE COLLECTIVE ENERGY OF PEOPLE ALL OVER, OBVIOUSLY AND CERTAINLY A VERY CONCENTRATED ENERGY HERE IN NEW YORK, CREATED ENGAGEMENT OF VOTERS THAT WE'VE NOT SEEN IN SO MANY YEARS.

WE'VE ALWAYS LAMENTED THE FACT THAT NEW YORK IS NUMBER 46 OUT OF 50 STATES IN TERMS OF VOTER TURNOUT.

AND PEOPLE DECIDED THAT THEY NEED TO BE INVOLVED.

AND THEY DO.

SO THEY SENT A RESOUNDING MESSAGE.

THEY WANT DEMOCRATS, AS THEY VOTED FOR BEFORE, THEY WANT DEMOCRATS TO LEAD AND THEY NEED OUR LEADERSHIP AND WE'RE CERTAINLY PLEASED AND LOOKING FORWARD TO STEPPING UP.

SO GOVERNOR CUOMO HELPED YOU MORE THAN HE HAS IN THE PAST.

HE CONTRIBUTED $5 MILLION TO STATE SENATE CAMPAIGNS, AS WELL AS CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGNS.

DO YOU OWE HIM ANYTHING FOR THAT HELP?

I OWE HIM WHAT I WOULD OWE ANY PARTNER IN GOVERNMENT, WHICH IS TO BE ABLE TO WORK COLLABORATIVELY, IN ORDER TO BENEFIT THE PEOPLE THAT WE SERVE.

I THINK THE GOVERNOR'S RESPONSE TO WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL IS APPROPRIATE.

HE REALIZED THAT THE MAJORITY -- THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY SEEMS UNWILLING AND UNABLE TO STAND UP ON BEHALF OF NEW YORKERS WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING LIKE THIS TAX BILL THAT WAS AIMED AT NEW YORK AND OTHER STATES THAT WERE 'BLUE.'

THAT'S RIGHT.

THE INABILITY TO DEDUCT LOCAL TAXES ANYMORE.

ABSOLUTELY.

AND THE REPUBLICANS SAID NOTHING.

AND I THINK THE SIGNAL WAS LOUD AND CLEAR.

WE NEED TO STAND UP FOR NEW YORKERS AND CERTAINLY IF YOU CAN'T DO THAT, YOU NEED TO GET OUT OF THE WAY.

I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE PRIORITY ITEMS.

YOU'RE TENDING TO SEND A MESSAGE IN JANUARY.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FIRST THINGS THAT WE MIGHT SEE ACTED UPON IN THE FIRST MONTH?

I'VE ALWAYS BEEN RELUCTANT TO SAY THIS, THIS, AND THIS.

WE KNOW THAT THE FIRST MONTH IS GOING TO BE EXTRAORDINARY, JUST BECAUSE OF THE NEW LEADERSHIP THERE.

ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS I THINK, BECAUSE WE'RE JUST OFF OF OUR LAST VOTING CYCLE, IS HOW DIFFICULT IT HAS BEEN FOR NEW YORKERS TO VOTE.

WE DON'T HAVE EARLY VOTING.

ONE OF THE LAST STATES TO NOT HAVE IT.

ING EXACTLY.

WE DON'T HAVE AUTOMATIC REGISTRATION.

WE DON'T HAVE SO MANY THINGS TO MAKE VOTING EASIER.

SO THOSE KINDS OF REFORMS COULD BE AMONG THE FIRST.

WE'VE BEEN TRYING SO HARD TO JUST DO BASIC THINGS.

WE WANT TO EXPAND THE BACKGROUND CHECK WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING GUNS.

YOU KNOW, UNLIKE THE NATION, WE ACTUALLY DO HAVE A THREE-DAY WAITING PERIOD SO THAT PEOPLE CAN CHECK TO MAKE SURE THAT THE PERSON WHO IS REQUESTING THE GUNS SHOULD HAVE IT.

AND WE FIND THAT THREE DAYS, FRANKLY, IS THE TIME FRAME IT TAKES THAT THERE'S NO QUESTIONS.

THERE ARE QUESTIONS IF -- THERE ARE TIMES THAT THERE ARE QUESTIONS AND THEY'RE NOT ANSWERED WITHIN THREE DAYS.

SO WE HAVE SOME VERY BASIC THINGS THAT WE HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET DONE.

EXTREME RISKS PROTECTION ORDER.

SO, AGAIN, I'M NOT THINKING --

I'M EAGER TO PIN YOU DOWN.

I KNOW.

AND IT'S NOT GOING TO BE EASY TO PIN ME DOWN, BECAUSE THERE'S SO MANY PEOPLE WHO WANT TO MUCH, AND I NEED TO --

WE'RE HEARING IT EVERY DAY NOW.

I KNOW.

I'M TRYING TO MANAGE EXPECTATIONS.

WHAT I SAY IS I LIKE TO UNDERPROMISE AND OVERDELIVER.

AND FINALLY, AND I THINK YOU PROBABLY EXPECTED THIS QUESTION TO BE COMING AT SOME TIME.

THE LAST TIME THE DEMOCRATS RAN THE SENATE, 2009, 2010, YOU WERE THERE BUT DIDN'T HAVE A LEADERSHIP POST.

IT WAS PRETTY CHAOTIC AND SOME WOULD SAY DISASTROUS.

YOU HAD THE SENATE COUP, WHERE YOU HAD 31 MEMBERS EACH, HOLDING ALTERNATIVE SESSIONS IN THE CHAMBER.

AND A LOT OF CORRUPTION, A LOT OF LEADERS ARE IN JAIL NOW.

AND PEOPLE STILL LOOK BACK AT THAT AND ARE WORRIED, CAN THE DEMOCRATS RUN THE SENATE?

THE DEMOCRATS FIRST OF ALL CAN CERTAINLY RUN THE SENATE.

THE CONFERENCE IS A CONFERENCE THAT I BELIEVE NOT ONLY HAS GROWN, BUT WE'VE BEEN THROUGH A LOT.

THOSE OF US WHO ARE HERE AND CERTAINLY PEOPLE WHO ARE COMING IN, WE'VE ALL BEEN THROUGH A LOT TO HAVE OUR POSITIONS OF LEADERSHIP, AND WE'VE EARNED OUR POSITIONS OF LEADERSHIP, AND WE DON'T TAKE THAT FOR GRANT IT.

WHEN YOU MENTION THE COUP, OBVIOUSLY THE COUP WAS ENGINEERED BY REPUBLICANS, NOT DEMOCRATS.

AND IT'S BECAUSE THE REPUBLICANS THAT HELD THE CHAMBER FOR THE BETTER PART, YOU KNOW, OF MOSTLY A HUNDRED YEARS, AND THEY DIDN'T WANT TO RELINQUISH THE POWER.

BUT WE'RE AT A POINT NOW WHERE, AGAIN, THE VOTERS HAVE SOLIDLY ASKED FOR DEMOCRATS TO BE IN CHARGE OF THE SENATE BY SENDING 40 DEMOCRATS TO THE CHAMBER.

EVERYONE THERE UNDERSTANDS OUR VERY IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITY TO BE GOOD STEWARDS OF THE PUBLIC TRUST, AND WE DON'T INTEND TO BREAK THAT TRUST.

> WHILE MEMBERS OF THE LBGTQ ARE INCREASINGLY FINDING MAIN STREAM ACCEPTANCE IN SOCIETY AND THE SPORTS WORLD, MEN'S SPORTS TENDS TO HAVE FEW GAY ATHLETES.

A NUMBER OF VICTORIES HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED, SUCH AS THE COMING OUT BY NBA CENTER JASON COLLINS AND SOCCER STAR ROBBIE ROGERS.

BUT HOW FAR HAS THE SPORTS WORLD COME AS FAR AS EQUALITY?

IN HIS NEW BOOK, SID ZIGLER LOOKS AT KEY MOMENTS THAT HAVE TRANSFORMED SPORTS FOR GAY ATHLETES TODAY.

AND HE JOINS ME TODAY TO TALK ABOUT IT.

SID, WELCOME.

THANK YOU.

NOW, TO YOUR BOOK, WHAT MADE YOU -- WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO WRITE IT?

WHAT MISSION DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH WITH IT?

I THINK THERE'S STILL A MAJOR MISCONCEPTION IN AMERICA THAT SPORTS ARE A PLACE WHERE LBGTQ ARE NOT WELCOME.

MY MAIN PURPOSE WAS TO SHOW THAT LBGTQ ATHLETES AND COACHES ARE REALLY FINDING A PLACE IN SPORTS, THEY'RE FINDING ACCEPTANCE, PARTICULARLY AMONG OTHER ATHLETES AND COACHES.

BUT ALSO TO SHOW WHERE IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS, THE GUYS IN SUITS, LEAGUE COMMISSIONERS, CAN DO A LOT OF GOOD AND HOW THEY CAN TAKE PROACTIVE STEPS TO FINALLY BLOW UP THE CLOSET DOOR OF SPORTS.

THE FAMOUS GENERAL MANAGER OF THE PRBROOKLYN DODGERS WHO HIRE JACKIE ROBINSON BREAKING THE COLOR LINE.

WHY ISN'T THERE SOMETHING TO BREAK THE LBGTQ LINE?

HE JUST DECIDED HE WAS GOING TO INTEGRATE BASEBALL IN 1947 AND HE DID JUST THAT.

I THINK THAT THE REASON YOU HAVEN'T SEEN A TEAM OWNER OR GENERAL MANAGER IN ONE OF THE BIG PRO SPORTS DO THAT, THAT IS GO FIND AN LBGTQ ATHLETE AND BRING THEM TO THEIR TEAM, IS THEY DON'T KNOW HOW.

I THINK THAT WE'RE TOLD THAT YOUR SEXUAL ORIENTATION IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT SECRET, THEY FEAR GOING AND TRYING TO FIND SOMEONE WHO HASN'T REVEALED THAT SECRET.

SO I THINK THAT'S THE BIGGEST REASON, THEY DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO IT.

HOW DO THEY DO IT?

THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE IN AND AROUND PROFESSIONAL SPORTS, JASON COLLINS, BILLY BEANE IN BASEBALL, WHO WORKED WITH A LOT OF THESE GUYS, AND WHO KNOW WHO THEY ARE.

AND WORKING THROUGH THEM TO FIGURE OUT A WAY THAT THE LEAGUE AND THE TEAMS CAN SUPPORT THESE PEOPLE COMING OUT, NOT OF THING THEM, BUT SUPPORT THEM IN THEIR COMING OUT PROCESS PERSONALLY AND PUBLICLY.

I THINK THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP THAT THEY CAN TAKE.

THAT'S WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN IN THE FRONT OFFICE.

HOW ARE THINGS IN THE LOCKER ROOM, SPORTS, MEN'S SPORTS HAS NOTORIOUSLY BEEN A MACHO WORLD.

HOW ARE TEAMMATES RESPONDING TO GAY TEAMMATES, DO YOU KNOW?

WELL, IN THE 16 YEARS THAT JIM AND I HAVE BEEN RUNNING OUR WEBSITE, WE HAVE HEARD ONLY ONE NEGATIVE COMING OUT STORY OF AN ATHLETE.

THAT WAS BECAUSE HIS COACH OUTED HIM TO HIS FAMILY.

EVERY OTHER STORY WE'VE HEARD HAS BEEN NOTHING BUT EMBRACED BY TEAMMATES AND COACHES.

PEOPLE WANT TO WIN IN SPORTING.

WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN IN SOMEONE IN THE LOCKER ROOM FOR MONTHS OR YEARS, YOU GET TO KNOW THEM AS A PERSON, NOT JUST THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

THAT'S THE BIGGEST PIECE.

BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE GET TO KNOW SOMEONE BEFORE THEY KNOW WHO THEY'RE SLEEPING WITH, IT KIND OF -- IT SMOOTHS OUT THE COMING OUT PROCESS IN THE LOCKER ROOM, BECAUSE THEY DON'T VIEW THEM AS SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

THEY VIEW THEM AS A TEAMMATE FIRST.

WHAT ABOUT THE FANS, ANY OBSTACLES WITH THE FANS?

YOU KNOW, FOR THE LAST 15 YEARS, EVERY SINGLE POLE OF A FAN THAT'S BEEN TAKEN HAS SHOWN A VAST MAJORITY, 75% PLUS OF FANS, AND THIS IS EVEN DATING BACK TO 15 YEARS AGO, SAY THEY WOULD SUPPORT AN OPENLY GAY PLAYER ON THEIR FAVORITE TEAM.

BUT 75% OF THEM ALSO SAY THAT THE GUY SITTING THEM IN THE STANDS WOULD.

SUPPORT AN OPENLY GAY ATHLETE ON THEIR TEAM.

THE MAJORITY OF FANS ARE OKAY WITH IT, BUT WE ALSO THINK THAT EVERYONE ELSE ISN'T OKAY WITH IT.

THAT'S THE DYNAMIC THAT ATHLETES DEAL WITH, THAT FANS ARE A PROBLEM, AND THEY'RE NOT.

YOU TALK ABOUTDYNAMICS.

YOU WRITE THERE'S A DIFFERENT DYNAMIC WITH WOMEN, THAT THE STEREO TYPICAL ASSUMPTION BY MANY FANS THAT WOMEN SAY IN PROFESSIONAL COLLEGE BASKETBALL ARE LESBIANS.

HOW DOES THIS PLAY INTO THE LBGTQ EQUALITY IN SPORTS?

ONE OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND IS IT IS NOT EASY BEING AN -- COMING OUT IN WOMEN'S SPORTS.

EXPRESSING WHO YOU ARE IS A REAL JOURNEY THAT EVERYONE, WHETHER YOU'RE A MAN OR WOMAN, GOES THROUGH.

BUT YOU KNOW, FROM WHAT I'VE BEEN TOLD FROM WOMEN IN SPORTS, WOMEN COLLEGE BASKETBALL, I SAY THIS IN THE BOOK, ANYWHERE FROM A THIRD TO 75% OF THE WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL COACHES ARE SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LBGTQ SPECTRUM.

THAT'S NOT ME TALKING, THAT'S THE WOMEN IN BASKETBALL HAVE TOLD ME THAT.

THE FACT THAT THERE ARE ONLY TWO OUT HEAD COACHES IN WOMEN'S DIVISION I BASKETBALL TELLS YOU HOW MUCH FEAR THERE IS.

THEY DON'T WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO THAT STEREOTYPE.

THEY LIVE WITH THAT ALL THEIR LIVES.

SO THEY'RE AFRAID OF ADDING TO THAT.

AND IT IS A VERY, VERY REAL FEAR THAT THEY FEEL.

WHAT'S BEEN THE EFFECT OF THE TRANSITIONING OF CAITLIN JENNER TO THE WORLD OF SPORTS?

I THINK THE EFFECT THAT CAITLIN HAS HAD ON THE ENTIRE WORLD IS POWERFUL.

THAT REALITY SHOW THAT IS ABOUT HER, THAT'S BROADCAST IN COUNTRIES ALL AROUND THE WORLD, WHERE, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THEY ARE NOT NEARLY WHERE WE ARE ON TRANSGENDER ISSUES IN AMERICA.

WE HAVE SO MANY ISSUES.

THERE'S SO MANY PLACES THAT ARE A LOT WORSE.

HE'S A WORLDWIDE AMBASSADOR ON TRANS ISSUES.

IN THE SPORTS WORLD, IT WAS LIKE JASON COLLINS COMING OUT.

IT STARTED A CONVERSATION IN PLACES WHERE IT HAD NOT EXISTED.

PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES, MOST OF THEM PROBABLY DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TRANSGENDER WAS.

NOW THEY DO BECAUSE OF CAITLIN.

I THINK THAT'S POWERFUL.

HOW WOULD YOU GENERALLY TRADE THE MEDIA IN THE WAY THAT IT HAS COVERED LBGTQ ISSUES WITHIN THE SPORTS WORLD?

IT'S A GOOD QUESTION.

THE SPORTS MEDIA, YOU KNOW, I GIVE THEM MAYBE A C PLUS OR A B MINUS.

I THINK WHEN ATHLETES COME OUT, THERE'S A LOT OF SUPPORT.

BUT WHAT I DON'T SEE ENOUGH OF IS REALLY PROACTIVELY IDENTIFYING STORIES AND TELLING MORE STORIES.

THEY'RE ON THE BALL WHEN SOMEONE COMES OUT, BUT THEY SHOULD BE TELLING MORE OF THE STORIES OF THE HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE ATHLETES WHO ARE THE JACKIE ROBINSONS OF SPORTS.

THEY ARE THE ONES CHANGING SPORTS ON THIS ISSUE.

I THINK THE LACK OF TELLING THOSE STORIES IS A BIG PROBLEM.

HOPEFULLY THIS CONVERSATION WILL HELP IN THAT DIRECTION.

SID, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY.

THANK YOU.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM, III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B.

POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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