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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  October 30, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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captioning funded by cbs and ford-- built for the road ahead. >> safer: madoff-- it is a name that will live in infamy. it's a tough name to live with. >> it sure is. >> safer: tonight, for the first time since bernie madoff's arrest, his wife ruth.... >> i trusted him. >> safer: ...and son andrew.... >> that's who i am. my name is madoff, and i'll live with that for the rest of my life. >> safer: ...speak out about crime, guilt, suicide.... >> mr. madoff, what do you have to say for yourself? >> safer: ...and the day bernie admitted to committing the largest financial fraud in history. >> and he said, "i have a confession to make. i've been running a ponzi
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scheme." he said, "$50 billion." >> safer: it's really hard for people to believe that you didn't know-- that you must have known. >> more pressure, herzlich. >> pitts: in 2008, mark herzlich was a smart, physical, relentless linebacker for boston college who fully expected to go pro. you were on top of the world. >> oh, yeah, i was big-time. i was as big-time as it gets at b.c. ( laughs ) >> you were the man? >> i was the man at b.c. oh, boy, that changed quick. >> pitts: herzlich was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. but what happened next is a story worthy of "60 minutes." ( cheers and applause ) >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm morley safer. >> i'm lara logan. >> i'm byron pitts. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60 minutes."
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yes, it's a uh, a chevy volt. so what are you doing at a gas station? >> safer: madoff-- it is a name that will live in infamy. it's been nearly three years since bernard madoff confessed to running a $65 billion ponzi scheme, the largest financial fraud in history. thousands of trusting clients who felt safe investing with a financial genius were swindled. he hadn't invested a penny. while madoff is serving 150
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years in prison, his family has had to deal with the consequences of his crimes-- his wife, ruth, divested of most of her great wealth and derided by a suspicious world; their son mark, dead, driven to suicide by shame and accusations of guilt; their other son andrew isolated, trying to live with the disgrace. are they innocent or were they willing partners? for the first time since bernie madoff's arrest, his son andrew and wife ruth speak out about crime, punishment, and the shame of being a madoff. it's a tough name to live with. >> ruth madoff: it sure is. >> safer: ruth madoff... do you feel the shame? >> ruth madoff: of course i feel the shame. i can barely walk down the street without worrying about people recognizing me. >> safer: ...and andrew madoff. >> andrew madoff: from the very beginning of this whole episode, i've had absolutely nothing to hide. and i've been eager, i would say
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almost desperate, to speak out publicly and tell people that i'm absolutely not involved. >> safer: andrew and ruth madoff speak out in the book "truth and consequences," a more or less tell-all arranged by andrew's fianceée, catherine hooper, an attempt to separate the family from the father's crimes. is it dismaying for you that, no matter what you say, people aren't going to believe you? >> catherine hooper: i think, in many ways, it is dismaying, but public opinion has to be something that doesn't matter to us. what matters to us is the truth. >> safer: it's really hard for people to believe that you didn't know-- that you/must/have known. >> ruth madoff: i... i can't explain it. i mean, i trusted him. why would it ever occur to me that it wasn't legal? the business was... his reputation was almost legendary. why would i ever think that
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there was something sinister going on? >> safer: it was 1954 when ruth alpern met bernie madoff in queens, new york. >> ruth madoff: i just saw him and i was sort of swept away, i think. >> safer: she married him at age 18. they had two sons, mark, then andrew. bernie was building up his money management business, a typical middle class family living on long island. >> ruth madoff: we were both solid parents and valued our family, and so proud of our boys. it was a dream, really. >> andrew madoff: my father was certainly present as a dad. >> safer: did he emphasize moral values at all? >> andrew madoff: i wouldn't say that we sort of explicitly discussed values. but we certainly lived what i felt was a moral life, where there was a clear sense of right
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and wrong. >> safer: exactly when bernie madoff went wrong is unclear, but as his reputation for delivering steady profits grew, the madoffs began living the good life-- a penthouse in manhattan, homes in palm beach and the south of france, and yachts in both places. the family became celebrated for philanthropy and madoff became a wall street big shot. >> andrew madoff: he was a big figure in the industry. he was the chairman of nasdaq. he was constantly being honored as "man of the year" of this organization and that, and that... that had an... an effect on me. >> safer: both sons went to work as traders for their father's firm in the late '80s, a time authorities believe madoff's ponzi scheme was well under way. why would your father want to taint his sons by bringing them into a situation that could well spell disaster? >> andrew madoff: you know,
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that's... that's a great question, and that's something that... that i really agonize over, as a son. you know, what my father did was so horrible, it's hard for me to understand that. and i'm not any closer to understanding it now than i was three years ago. >> safer: bernard l. madoff securities employed over a hundred people, but it seemed like a family business. his brother peter and several cousins worked there, mark and andrew worked on the 19th floor of new york's lipstick building, where they legitimately traded securities for the firm and for outside clients. the investment advisory business-- the ponzi scheme-- was housed two floors below, where their father never made any trades at all. he was simply creating phony paper statements that showed steady profits for his clients-- his victims.
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access to the 17th floor was highly restricted. you must have been curious about why the 17th floor was such a secret place. when you or mark asked him about his end of the business, what did he say? >> andrew madoff: it was always a very similar response. it was, "you guys have your business to worry about, and let me worry about my business." and the conversation would end there. >> safer: but people say, "look, there's no way these kids could not have had... at the very least, suspected something was going on." >> andrew madoff: well, keep in mind these were completely separate businesses. we were executing hundreds of thousands of transactions a day. and that kept all of us incredibly busy. and it just didn't occur to me that he could be involved in any kind of criminal activity. >> safer: andrew says his father would often walk his clients through the 19th floor to show actual trades being made.
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you feel that the legitimacy of the trading business offered protection to what your father was doing. >> andrew madoff: absolutely. absolutely. >> safer: that he was using you and your brother? >> andrew madoff: absolutely. it was one of the hardest things to come to grips with, in trying to get my head around this, was that feeling that i had been used almost as... as a human shield by him. he... it's... it's unforgivable. no... no father should do that to their sons. >> bernie madoff: you know, the basic concept of wall street... >> safer: he says he thought his father was a financial genius. there were suspicions about madoff's remarkably consistent returns, but the s.e.c. repeatedly cleared him of any wrongdoing. what troubled andrew was his father's refusal to discuss any plans for a succession. >> andrew madoff: his plan was that he had no plan. and he would say that, when he dies, his end of the business dies. and again, it was always the...
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the same response-- "that's the way it is and it's not going to change." >> safer: he ruled with an iron fist, but kept everyone happy with money-- steady returns for investors, and for family, an endless stream of cash. andrew and mark were paid multi- million dollar salaries, and the boys went to their father for even more-- for houses, business ventures, and divorce settlements. catherine hooper says the madoff benign dictatorship took some getting used to. >> hooper: it was an adjustment, getting to understand that the boundaries in andrew's family were probably going to be different than what i was used to. >> safer: did you feel that papa madoff was the boss? >> hooper: there's no question that he was. >> ruth madoff: he could be a bully, without question. >> safer: but did you ever suspect, along the way, either strange behavior or somebody who was bottling up a secret or any of that? >> ruth madoff: i never did. i never did. it didn't seem that way.
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there was nothing that would make me suspect anything. sometimes, i look back and i think, as the years went on, he started to get more and more short-tempered, and maybe he was just having trouble. obviously, he had to have been. >> safer: in the fall of 2008, the world economy began to implode and markets were in free fall. big investors wanted out. redemption after redemption strained madoff's scheme to its limits. on december 10, 2008, with only a few hundred million left of the billions invested with him, madoff realized the game was over. he told his wife to transfer $10 million from her brokerage account at the firm into a personal checking account. did you not wonder, "what on earth is happening here?" $10 million is a lot of money. >> ruth madoff: it wasn't atypical for him to put money in an account and take it out.
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i didn't think anything of it, actually. >> safer: that same morning, bernard madoff called a family meeting in his office. >> andrew madoff: and he started to try and speak to us, and he couldn't. he sort of fell apart, started to cry a little bit. and it was shocking to see that. i mean, this was not a man who was emotional in that way at all. he said that maybe it would be easier if we talked elsewhere, and suggested maybe we should go up to his apartment. >> ruth madoff: he called from the office and said, "i'm coming home with the boys. i have something to talk about." came in, we went into a room, four of us, and he said, "i have a confession to make. i've been running a ponzi scheme." he said, "$50 billion."
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>> andrew madoff: he said, "everything i've been doing is all a big lie." he said... he said, "the business is... is a ponzi scheme and it... the firm is completely insolvent. and i'm broke." and then he just started sobbing. and i was... i was shocked. it was... i felt like my head exploded. i mean, i don't think, if he had told me he was an alien, i could've been more surprised. he said that the firm had liabilities of $50 billion. it never occurred to me that his business had anything like that under management. it was... it was shocking. >> safer: your mother, what was her reaction? >> andrew madoff: she looked... she looked shocked. she asked... "what's a ponzi scheme?" was her first question. she didn't even understand that. i think it was me who answered,
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and said that, "it means that it's all fake. that dad's, you know, his... he's not been doing what he says he's been doing." and he followed that up and said, "yes, i've been lying to all of you all of these years. i've been lying to everybody. i've been lying to myself," he said, and... >> safer: and your brother? >> andrew madoff: my brother was trembling with rage. he was absolutely furious. mark was the first one to stand up and said, you know, "i'm out of here," and he stormed out of the room. and i... i immediately followed him and walked out. >> safer: you know, there's a lot of people out there who are saying, or will be saying as they watch this, "this is all a charade. this was something that the madoffs set up to get themselves off the hook." this... >> andrew madoff: i wish it were. i wish it were. i wish none of this was real. you know, i knew... i knew absolutely nothing about this before my father shared the
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information with me, and it was... it was the most shocking and terrible moment of my life. >> ruth madoff: i was as stunned as they. i was kind of paralyzed. bernie got up and said, "i'm going back to the office." >> safer: was he emotional in any way? >> ruth madoff: i don't remember that, either. he must have been. >> safer: apologetic in any way? >> ruth madoff: probably, yes. i... sort of a blank now. i'm not hedging here, i don't... i just simply don't remember every detail, i was in such a state. >> safer: but later that day, that evening, you both turned up at the office christmas party. >> ruth madoff: i know. he phoned me from the office and said, "we have to go to the office christmas party." so i got myself together and went over there. we stayed a half an hour, and we just went home. and the next morning, the fbi was there to arrest him, about 7:00 a.m. >> safer: andrew and mark madoff
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had turned their father in. shortly after the arrest, ruth madoff called andrew, pleading with him to co-sign his father's $10 million bail bond. >> andrew madoff: and i said, you know, "forget it. there's no way." i mean, "how could you even ask that question?" no, i'm not signing that... that bail bond. that's crazy." and i was really... i was very upset that she asked, because here i had just turned my father in to the authorities a day before and, now, it appeared that i was losing my mother, as well, because she was siding with him. >> ruth madoff: i just wanted him to come home. i was so afraid. >> safer: afraid of? >> ruth madoff: i mean, the whole idea, going to prison is sort of unthinkable to me. i don't think i ever knew anybody that went to prison. >> mr. madoff, what do you have to say for yourself? >> safer: bail was eventually guaranteed by ruth and madoff's
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brother peter, and bernie was released. all of his assets were frozen, but in a stunning breach of the court order barring the transfer of property, a large and extremely valuable envelope arrived at andrew madoff's apartment. >> andrew madoff: i tore open the envelope and... and dumped it out. and it was absolutely heartbreaking. these were pieces of jewelry that i recognized, things that i had seen my mother wearing over the... over the years. and i couldn't... i couldn't understand how she could do this. i mean, what were they thinking? and it wasn't until three years later that i had a chance to ask her, "what were you thinking when you sent me that jewelry? i don't understand." and she told me that she and my father had planned to kill themselves, and they put
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together that package beforehand and sent it out. >> safer: did they try to kill themselves? >> andrew madoff: yes, they did. >> ruth madoff: i don't know who... whose idea it was. but we decided to kill ourselves, because it was... it was so horrendous what was happening. we had terrible phone calls, hate mail, just beyond anything. and i said, "i can't... i just can't go on anymore." that's when i packed up some things to send to my sons and my grandchildren. i had some lovely antique things and things that i thought they might want. i mailed them. it was christmas eve-- that added to the whole depression-- and we took pills and woke up the next day. >> safer: what did you take? >> ruth madoff: i think ambien. >> safer: how many? >> ruth madoff: i don't even remember. i had... i took what we had, he took more.
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>> safer: did you leave notes? >> ruth madoff: no. it was very impulsive, and i'm glad we woke up. >> safer: but you must have talked... this is a rather large decision to make. >> ruth madoff: it wasn't hard, at the time. it was impulsive, and i just wanted out. >> safer: when we come back, life in the madoff apartment and the death of a son. >> cbs moneywatch update:. >> good evening. with one day to go in october, the s&p 500 is about to record its best month since 1974. europe today ruled on concessions to china in return for aid in the debt crisis. and australian court ordered an end to a labor dispute that grounded quantis airlines and pus in boots won the weekend box office.
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>> safer: the sheer scale of bernard madoff's ponzi scheme shocked the world. thousands of individuals, charities and funds that, on paper, were worth a total of $65 billion were wiped out. what's more, some of his closest friends and family who had trusted him with their life savings faced ruin. >> 30 seconds, babe. >> safer: with madoff under house arrest, the world staked out his penthouse on 64th street, obsessed by what might be happening behind the drawn shades. >> ruth madoff: there were lawyers coming for meetings at the apartment. we watched a lot of television, and i cooked. >> safer: was there remorse? was there... >> ruth madoff: yes, there was remorse. >> safer: was there guilt or was it sort of self-pity? >> ruth madoff: i think, in a
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way, he was relieved, at the beginning, that he was finished. >> safer: but you must have asked yourself a thousand times, "why?" you could have been a perfectly comfortable, even wealthy family... >> ruth madoff: without question. >> safer: ...without this. >> ruth madoff: i don't understand it. i don't... it's hard for me to say this, but i don't think the money was the part of it. i think he got stuck-- that's what he said. and he didn't have the courage to face... face things when they might have been able to be faced on a much smaller scale. >> safer: madoff repeatedly told authorities that he had acted alone... >> did your wife have anything to do with this, sir? >> get out of here. >> safer: ...that his family knew nothing. but who would believe bernie madoff? >> hooper: i remember, at some point, we were having breakfast and i said to andrew, "you know, people will think that you were involved."
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and i think it had dawned on him, but it really hadn't sunk in. and as i said those words, he looked at me and said, "do you really think that that won't last? i mean, it'll become clear very quickly that we weren't involved." >> safer: did you have any suspicion at all that your mother might have been involved, complicit in some way? >> andrew madoff: no. absolutely not. i never for a moment felt that my mother was involved in my father's crimes or was aware of it at all. >> safer: the rest of the world was skeptical. while countless stories predicted the imminent arrest of mark, andrew, and their uncle peter... >> do you have anything to say to the investors? >> ruth madoff: no, i don't. >> safer: ...ruth madoff seemed to get the worst of it. it was said she had an office at the firm, that she had been the bookkeeper. >> ruth madoff: i was the bookkeeper, i was the receptionist. i worked for bernie in 1961, when i graduated from college. and i left in 1963, when mark was born, and then andy. and i was a stay-at-home mom all those years.
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and later on, when the boys started to work there, we lived within walking distance, and i had an office there where i took care of decorating things and house things and bills and managing those things. but i was never the bookkeeper after 1963. >> safer: probably a majority of people can't believe that you can live with someone for 50 years and not know... >> ruth madoff: it's hard for me to believe, too. >> safer: had you known, would you have turned him in? >> ruth madoff: i'm glad i didn't. that would have been tough, but i... i would have left. whether i'd turn him in or not, i don't know. i like to think i would have, but i... i couldn't say. i'm being completely honest with you, i have to say. >> safer: she was vilified and
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shunned, harassed on the subway. the press hounded her with headline after headline. her fiercest critics were her own sons. from the time of your father's confession, i gather you had a certain degree of estrangement from your mother. how come? >> andrew madoff: well, she and i barely spoke for two years. i struggled tremendously trying to understand her decision to stay by my father's side. i felt so angry with him, so i didn't understand her choice and i struggled with it, as did mark. >> ruth madoff: i never thought of leaving. i don't know why i didn't. i just knew this man for so long, whom i loved for so many years. i didn't know what else to do but stay there. >> safer: three months after his confession, madoff pled guilty.
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he was later sentenced to 150 years. ruth madoff agreed to forfeit $80 million and all her worldly goods. all the homes, boats, cars, art, furniture, even madoff's slippers, were auctioned or sold. you were allowed to keep $2.5 million. to a lot of people, that's a lot of money. >> ruth madoff: it is. it's certainly enough for me. i've used a lot for legal fees. >> safer: there is a public perception, and i'm sure you've heard it, that there's got to be a stash somewhere, you know? >> ruth madoff: i've heard it, i've heard it. >> safer: that bernie madoff hid it somewhere, and that you know. >> ruth madoff: i wish they'd find it and give it all back. my understanding of a ponzi scheme is that, when it's over, there's nothing left. and i certainly don't know of a stash anywhere. >> safer: though eight employees have been accused of helping
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with the scheme, no family members have been charged. but the bankruptcy trustee, irving picard, and his lead counsel, david sheehan, are demanding that all the madoffs cough up virtually every penny they have, claiming they "knew or should have known" about bernie's crimes. would you agree with mr. sheehan, the lawyer for the trustee, when sheehan says, "you should be ashamed, that you should give every penny back"? >> andrew madoff: well, obviously, i disagree with many of the assertions in the lawsuit that the trustee has filed against me. and i'm hopeful that, in time, we'll be able to reach a settlement and i'll be able to put this behind me. >> safer: picard says the sons trading operation received millions from bernie's ponzi scheme. he is suing andrew madoff alone for $60 million, virtually every penny he earned, borrowed, or was given to him by his father over a ten-year period.
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let me ask a really intrusive question. how much are you worth, as we speak? >> andrew madoff: well, i was fortunate over the years, running the business that mark and i ran that generated many millions of dollars in profits and enabled my brother and i both to live a comfortable lifestyle. >> safer: you haven't answered the question. >> andrew madoff: i made, in... in good years, several million dollars. you know, my life, at this point, is an... is an open book. the details of my financial past have been laid bare completely in the lawsuit against me. i haven't enjoyed it. but that's the reality that i live in. >> safer: do you fear ending up broke? >> andrew madoff: i think that it's a very real possibility, but i am prepared to start over again and build myself back up. >> have you talked to your dad? >> mark madoff: i have no comment. i'm sorry. i can't help you.
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>> safer: but for andrew's brother mark, the weight of the lawsuits, attacks from the media, and the shame became unbearable. >> andrew madoff: he was absolutely obsessed with the news coverage. he would wake up every morning, immediately comb through the regular newspapers, and that would be followed up by reading blog posts and comments. and i would say, "look, you got to shut off your computer. you got to stop subjecting yourself to this because this is not helpful for you and it's not helpful for me. and if you keep doing this, it's just going to lead to misery." >> safer: and it did. on december 11, 2010-- the second anniversary of his father's arrest-- mark madoff hung himself while his two-year- old son slept in the next room. he said in his last email, "no one wants to hear the truth." >> hooper: as soon as we saw the caller i.d., at that early hour on a saturday morning, we both knew what had happened.
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>> safer: how did you react when you... when you heard that? >> andrew madoff: it was awful. i wish i could say i was shocked, but i wasn't. he had tried to kill himself a little more than a year before. and that was... was absolutely devastating. and i had tried to talk to him, to understand what he was going through. it was very painful for me and very difficult for me, but i was making it through. and to see him struggling and... and not making it was... was terrible. we were... we were very close. he was my best friend. and i... i wanted to help him. >> ruth madoff: the night before he killed himself, there was an
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awful article in the "wall street journal." i mean, i sort of... i understood, i was going through those agonies of shame, and it was terrible. to feel that we were always so proud of who we were and bernie's success in the industry. it was... was so difficult. >> safer: she blames herself for mark's suicide. he'd wanted her to cut off all contact with her husband. >> ruth madoff: i just wish, until my dying day, that i had done what he wanted. i don't know if it would have made a difference or not, but if i could change things-- at least if i had tried-- i would have felt a little better. i don't know if it would have mattered. it's the most awful thing that could have happened to anybody, suicide of a child.
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>> safer: after her son's death, ruth madoff told her husband she was finished with him-- no visits, no phone calls. that decision led to a reconciliation of sorts with andrew. >> ruth madoff: that's partly why i'm sitting right here. he and catherine wanted to write this book. they thought it would be good if i was a part of it. and i agreed because i wanted to reconcile. >> safer: neither ruth nor andrew will benefit from sales of the book. catherine hooper will. you lived just over there. you miss the apartment? >> ruth madoff: not really. >> safer: she lives a simpler life now in a three-room apartment in south florida. but she remains ruth madoff, lawful wife of the greatest financial criminal in history. why haven't you filed for a divorce from this man? >> ruth madoff: i don't know. it doesn't matter to me.
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he's going to die in prison. i certainly don't want to find another man these days. >> safer: he'll probably see this interview. are you concerned about...? >> ruth madoff: i was thinking about that. no, i'm not concerned. he should hear it. >> safer: believe her or not, the thousands of victims may have little sympathy for andrew and ruth, but it can't be denied that they, too, are victims of bernie madoff. there's mark and andrew. >> ruth: uh-huh, in happier times. >> safer: they lost a son and brother, and will forever carry the shame of the madoff name. >> andrew madoff: what he did to me, to my brother, and to my family is unforgivable. what he did to thousands of other people, destroyed their lives-- i'll never understand it. and i'll never forgive him for it. and i'll never speak to him again.
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>> pitts: in 2008, mark herzlich was one of the best college linebackers in the country, an all-american. the 6'4", 240-pound junior at boston college was so dominating, he was projected to be a first-round pick in the nfl draft. then, at the very top of his game, mark was diagnosed with bone cancer. he was told by a doctor his playing days were over, that he might not ever run again. he was just 21. for the next two years, mark herzlich fought two battles-- one for his life, the other for a future in football. >> look out, herzlich's got it. >> great job of anticipation. you got to know where number 94 is at all time. >> pitts: in 2008, mark herzlich was a game changer-- smart, physical, relentless.
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make a mistake and the boston college linebacker would make you pay. >> more pressure, herzlich. >> pitts: you were on top of the world? >> mark herzlich: oh, yeah, i was big time. i was as big-time as it gets at b.c. >> pitts: you were the man? >> herzlich: i was the man at b.c. oh, boy, that changed quick. >> pitts: just months after his dream season, in the spring of 2009, mark began experiencing pain in his left leg. >> herzlich: it was a sharp pain in different parts of my leg. >> pitts: bite-your-lip kind of pain? >> herzlich: oh, like screaming. my roommate moved out because he couldn't get sleep. i couldn't get sleep. >> pitts: that may, after final exams, mark's parents took him to pennsylvania hospital in philadelphia. an mri showed that the pain in his left thigh was a tumor. it was ewing's sarcoma, a rare bone cancer that strikes fewer than 400 americans a year. 30% of them don't survive.
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>> herzlich: it knocked me off my feet. i was gripping the bed and my hands started sweating. >> pitts: your parents? >> herzlich: in shock. and they were silent for awhile and i was silent for awhile. and then, my dad... my dad asked, he said, "you know, mark's a good football player. when will he be able to play again?" and my mom hit him. she said, "what are you thinking about that for?" but i was thinking the exact same thing. he knew how much i loved football and how much i wanted that to be a part of my life. so the doctor said, "mark will not be playing football again." >> pitts: the herzlich's lives revolved around sports. mark's parents, sandy and barb, were collegiate athletes. his brother, brad, is a linebacker at brown university. the news was difficult to accept. what was your first reaction when you heard, "the best option is this-- no football?" >> barb herzlich: i was trying not to care. i knew how important it was to mark. i would never say, "mark, stop thinking about playing football
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anymore." >> sandy herzlich: i never accepted the fact that it had to be one or the other, that live or play football. i always hung on to the belief that it could be both. >> pitts: after the diagnosis, the herzlich's returned to their pennsylvania home. mark was alone in his room, surrounded by reminders of all that football meant to him. >> mark herzlich: one picture in particular, where i'm running with the football and my left leg is just, like, flaring up, and looking strong-- looked at it, i said, "i'm going to do that again." >> pitts: rather than choose the treatment first recommended-- replacement of the cancerous femur with a bone from a cadaver-- he chose the one that gave him the best opportunity to play football. doctors would leave mark's femur intact. after a course of chemotherapy and radiation, they would reinforce it by inserting a titanium rod. although weakened by the cancer treatments, mark returned to school in the fall of 2009 and rejoined his team.
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>> mark herzlich: you see the releases on everything? >> pitts: on the sidelines, he coached his teammates... ( cheers and applause ) ...and stirred up the crowd. then, on october 3, just five months after his diagnosis, mark surprised the boston college faithful, and a national tv audience, with news he'd just received from his doctor. >> mark herzlich: he said he's, you know, about 99% sure that the cancer is completely gone. ( cheers and applause ) >> pitts: that very same day, mark got a call from one of his football idols. >> tedy bruschi: hey, mark, what's going on? it's tedy bruschi here. i just wanted to say "hey." >> pitts: tedy bruschi was an all-pro and super bowl champion with the new england patriots. like mark, he was a linebacker. in 2005, bruschi came back from a stroke to play four more seasons. now an espn analyst, he'd support mark in his comeback. >> bruschi: when i was coming back, i wish i had someone to talk to. >> pitts: there was no tedy bruschi for you to talk to.
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>> bruschi: when i decided i wanted to come back and play football, i called my doctor the next morning and said, "i want the number of the guy that's done this before so i can ask him the thousands of questions that i have." and there was silence on the other line. i said, "doc, what's up?" he said, "tedy, you'd be the first." >> pitts: people had a hard time with you and have a hard time with mark. they say, "why? why not just walk away? you were given a second chance at life. why not be grateful? go do something else that's less demanding physically." >> bruschi: what do you want me to do? ( laughs ) i'm a football player. mark herzlich's a football player. i wasn't going to let stroke and he isn't going to let cancer tell him when its time. we just weren't going to do that. >> mark herzlich leading the boston college eagles onto the field. >> pitts: with a titanium rod in his left leg, mark returned to college football in the first game of the 2010 season.
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in the stands, with family and friends, barb herzlich was on the phone with her mother. >> barb herzlich: "mom, he's, oh, he's running, he's doing it. mom, he's... he's doing it." and he was back on the field. and mark was back. >> pitts: he may have been back on the field, but mark's cancer treatments had reduced his strength and quickness. nfl scouts took notice. >> from boston college, linebacker mark herzlich. >> pitts: although he was invited with other top prospects to the 2011 nfl draft, his name was never called. there were 254 guys picked. >> herzlich: uh-huh. >> pitts: and they didn't call your name? >> herzlich: sure didn't. >> pitts: once again, someone tells you you can't play football, you can't do it. >> herzlich: un-huh, right. yeah. you work all the way back, put in all the hours, and you prove them wrong. you say, "all right, i'm back out on the field. i'm playing." and draft day comes and, "oh, yeah, by the way, you can't play football again." it's tough.
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>> pitts: mark was out to prove the nfl scouts wrong. for months, he trained at this elite sports facility in florida. along with veteran nfl players and hopefuls, he ran through two-a-day workouts, determined to get stronger and faster. in late july, mark went home to pennsylvania for his regular mri. as he left the doctor's office, his mother handed him his cell phone. >> barb herzlich: he goes, "oh, my gosh, i have, like, 25 messages." i said, "yeah, the lockout was lifted." and he just went ( sighs ). he just took this big deep breath, like, "here we go." >> mark herzlich: gotten calls from the eagles and the ravens and the giants... >> pitts: when nfl owners and players agreed to a new contract in late july, teams were finally able to sign undrafted free agents. for 24 hours, mark fielded offers. but a call from new york giants coach tom coughlin sealed the deal.
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>> mark herzlich: i am all set to be a giant. you know, it's definitely the right fit for me and, you know, i'm ready to go. >> sandy herzlich: congratulations. >> pitts: there was little time to celebrate. mark's signing was really just an invitation to giants training camp. he still had to make the team. number 58 was one of 90 players-- most of them veterans and highly touted draft picks-- competing for just 53 roster spots. he was a longshot. for a rookie, opportunities to impress the coaches were limited. when he did get a shot, it was usually with the third team defense or special teams. training camp was 24/7, diagramming plays in his hotel room, lifting weights on his day off, then back on the field running full-contact drills. with video cameras watching every move, there was no room for mistakes.
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in those early practices, coaches told us it was hard to know if mark was good enough, or healthy enough, to compete at this level. so, how was it? >> mark herzlich: good. it was good to get the pads on again. i was telling someone it's been eight months since i hit anyone. >> pitts: so, how was it hitting somebody? >> herzlich: it was awesome. i felt like normal again. >> pitts: what do you think you have to prove? >> herzlich: i just got to prove that i can help this team win. they asked me to come here because they wanted to see if i could play football, not to see if i was over my cancer. >> 3-29...! >> pitts: just 18 days after his signing, mark was in his first preseason game against the carolina panthers. it wasn't going well. the professional game was faster, with a whole new language. >> tango, tango cha-cha versus three by one. >> pitts: but as the preseason progressed, coaches watched as the old mark herzlich reemerged.
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>> henie fires towards the middle. it is intercepted. that herzlich? yes, it was. >> pitts: it's such a wonderful story, his comeback, why wouldn't an nfl just want to have him around for a while just because he's such an inspirational story? >> bruschi: you don't make nfl teams based on your story, based on being a good guy. you still got to make plays, you still got to help the team win. that's all it is. can mark herzlich help the new york giants win? >> pitts: for head coach tom coughlin, the answer was "yes." when the giants opened the season against the washington redskins, mark herzlich, number 58, was on the team. >> tom coughlin: if you're asking me, as a coach, what do i think, he's a football player. he's dedicated, he's smart, he learns very quickly. and he earned it primarily on his special teams play and his intelligence. you tell him one time what to do and he does it.
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>> pitts: so, as the season wears on, with every tackle... with every hit... will mark's leg hold up? you have a titanium rod in your leg? >> mark herzlich: i do. >> pitts: any chance that could be broken playing football? >> mark herzlich: when i talked to my doctors about the chances of breaking my leg or something, they said, in extreme car accidents or a place where it gets contorted in that sort of violent way, i guess there's a chance. >> pitts: some people saying playing in the nfl is like being in a car accident. >> herzlich: yes. >> mark herzlich got a hit on the quarterback. 25 or more of them? do you have a financial plan for you family that works, in good times and in bad times? having the right perspective can help you answer the big questions. for more than 140 years, pacific life has helped find answers for those navigating the path to financial security.
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