An Atlanta radio station has fired sports talk hosts who made fun of former NFL player Steve Gleason, who now suffers ALS.
The show, “Mayhem In The AM,” was broadcast on 790 The Zone in Atlanta on Monday morning. During it, two of the on-air personalities took a phone call from a third host pretending to be Gleason and using what sounded like an automated voice, like the one physicist Stephen Hawking uses to speak.
The host pretending to be Steve Gleason made a number of jokes, even asking the other hosts to do him a favor and smother him.
Gleason had written an article for Sports Illustrated on Monday, using technology that allows him to write with his eyes to detail his struggle with ALS.
“I am well into the disease progression. I am unable to walk, talk or eat. In some ways, this stage of the process is less frustrating than previous stages. I often feel normal. I forget that it’s weird to eat through a tube or be in a wheelchair. Still, I can’t deny that it’s a struggle,” Gleason wrote.
The station officials announced Tuesday that the hosts were fired after the Steve Gleason stunt.
Management at the radio station had already made a public apology that condemned the hosts, who were initially suspended.
“We deeply regret the comments made by Mayhem In The AM this morning on 790 The Zone regarding former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason,” wrote Rick Mack 790, the station’s general manager. “790 The Zone, Lincoln Financial Media, our sponsors and partners in no way endorse or support the unfortunate and offensive commentary concerning Mr. Gleason this morning. The members of the show involved with this incident have been suspended indefinitely pending further management review of their actions.”
The Atlanta Falcons also denounced the comments against Steve Gleason.
“The content concerning Mr. Gleason was completely inappropriate and is not representative of the views of the Falcons organization, nor does it represent the way we conduct our business on and off the field,” the statement said. “To single out Steve the way he was this morning is totally lacking in taste and discretion.”
The station lists hosts as Nick Cellini, Steak Shapiro, and Chris Dimino, but the release didn’t specify which radio hosts had been fired for the Steve Gleason stunt.