TODAY   |  April 15, 2013

Bryant Gumbel gives sneak peek of ‘Real Sports’

Former TODAY anchor Bryant Gumbel chats about the 19th season of his HBO series “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” which kicks off as he follows a group of extreme soccer fans in Cairo, Egypt, known as the Ultras.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> 15 years. since 1995 he's been the host of " real sports with bryant gumbel " kicking off its 19th season just got a peabody award .

>> i'm very proud of it, the first sports broadcast to ever be so honored. we have a good bunch of guys. we got a great staff and wonderful group of correspondents, very proud of it.

>> you start this season with the story i think marries a lot of your real interest in sports and politics, this group of soccer fans we talked about it outside a second ago, the ultras , so are they soccer fans , political activists, revolutionaries, what are they in.

>> a little bit of all concerned. i'll give you the brief version. for years in egyptian society egyptians were not allowed to congregate. the only place they could is soccer games. the ultras became used to working in an organized fashion and number two is combating the police , and so when events went down as you know well in tahrir square the people leading the charge were the ultraand the revolution is ongoing.

>> you brought us a clip from tomorrow night's segment. does it need setup?

>> i don't think so. i think we have a journalist, sharif tadus who talks about the role of the ultras and we'll talk with one of the ultras who keeps his identity hidden for obvious reasons.

>> this bridge behind us leads directly into the heart of tahrir , and this was the site of one of the fiercest and largest battles on january 28th , 2011 , against the police . the ultras and soccer fans were key to that battle because they were on the front lines, they were very organized. the police literally retreated off the streets of cairo. were taking off their uniforms, putting on civilian clothing and hiding.

>> the streets around tahrir square was battlefield everywhere. the people were watching us, dealing with the police .

>> so they were learning by example?

>> exactly.

>> you were teaching by example.

>> we broke this rule that the police are the most strong thing in egypt and you cannot mess with them. we broke this rule and this is how the people saw us doing this.

>> you mentioned the role in tahrir square at the end of the mubarak regime's days. what are their goals now?

>> that's a tough question. they want -- the police remains the oppressive force in egypt , almost 2 million strong and despite the fact mubarak is gone and morsi is in, the police remain pretty much unchanged and unchecked and the police kind of got their revenge against the ultras a year ago, they went to the soccer game in port sayeed and reports came out they locked the exits and after the game, 72 of them were beaten to death, and so the ultras , it's become a blood war now the cops in egypt and revolution is ongoing.

>> as an american journalist did you feel safe? i remember when you went over --

>> they all think it's fine, they think i'm egyptian until i open my mouth. boom, it's gone.

>> we talked about adam scott the new masters champion, first aussie to have that title. should tiger woods have been disqualified? or withdrawn?

>> absolutely not. if he had, everyone would say he gutted a good rule. number one he shouldn't have decued himself but you could sit at home on your couch and say i saw a violation and impact the competition?

>> i'm not sure golf will get away with that. it seems to be here to stay.

>> can you imagine a guy watching a basketball game hey he traveled. get on the phone? no. that's not going to happen.

>> you agreed to subject yourself to something else.

>> i didn't agree. you strongarmed me.

>> not exactly. we have a segment come up, a brand new series on " national geographic " called " brain games ." the gentleman thief who has been on our show before and he'll have fun with us in a couple of minutes and have some fun with you as well so if you're game we'll give it a shot in a couple of minutes.

>> if i'm not?

>> we're going to give it