Atlanta Sports Radio Hosts Fired After Mocking Former Saints Player With ALS

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    Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Three sports radio hosts from Atlanta’s 790 The Zone’s “Mayhem in the AM” have been fired after mocking former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason during an on-air segment. Gleason, who is 36 years old and confined to a wheelchair, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

    Rick Mack, the 790’s senior vice president and general manager, issued a statement on the station’s website apologizing for the segment. In the statement, Mack highlights the disciplinary action being taken against hosts Steak Shapiro, Chris Dimino and Nick Cellini.

    “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,” the statement said. “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.”

    The three hosts mocked Gleason Monday by employing a robotic voice, similar to the one Gleason operates using his eyes in order to speak, and answered questions in a mock interview setting.

    According to WWLTV in New Orleans, which picked up the story from a post at TigerDroppings.com, the hosts used knock-knock jokes in the segment, joking about whether Gleason would be alive and using the robotic voice to ask the hosts to “smother [him].” At one point, the host speaking for Gleason wondered if he would be alive on Thursday and finished the segment by saying “I’m going to hell.”

    Listen to the full segment here, via WMTI-FM in New Orleans.

    Gleason is best known for blocking a punt during the Saints’ first home game following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2006. New Orleans went on to upset the Atlanta Falcons, and a statue commemorating his play now serves as a permanent symbol of the city’s recovery.

    (Photo: Former Saints Joe Horn (L) and Michael Lewis (R) pose with Steve Gleason. (USATSI))

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