An Atlanta radio station has fired three morning radio hosts for mocking former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, who has been debilitated by ALS, this morning.
On Monday, Gleason published a guest column in Sports Illustrated’s Peter King’s “Monday Morning QB” space by using eye tracking technology. The degenerative disease has put Gleason in a wheelchair, and he now has to talk through a computer.
But Atlanta radio hosts Nick Cellini, Steak Shapiro, and Chris Dimino on the “Mayhem in the AM” show on WQXI-AM, “790 The Zone,” mocked him for his degenerative disease. They did a spoof segment in which a person impersonating Gleason called in with a robotic voice, impersonating the voice of the computer Gleason uses to communicate. A listener went on a message board and expressed his outrage, and former teammates like Scott Fujita tweeted their anger.
Rick Mack, 790 The Zone Sr. VP & General Manager, released this statement on Monday:
“We deeply regret the offensive programming that aired this morning on “Mayhem In The AM” on 790 The Zone, related to former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason and his battle with ALS. We suspended the three individuals involved immediately following their comments and have since terminated their employment. 790 The Zone, our owners, sponsors and partners in no way endorse or support this kind of content. We sincerely apologize to Mr. Gleason, his family and all those touched by ALS.”
A sample joke included the Gleason impersonator doing a “knock knock” joke:
Smother me. Do me a favor.
The person impersonating Gleason at one point said he may “not be here on Thursday” and also said that he was “going to hell.”
UPDATE: The audio of the segment can be heard here.