Steve Gleason: The Rivalry Behind Atlanta Radio Hosts’ Tacky ALS Segment

COMMENTARY – So Steve Gleason, former Saints player and victim of ALS, was mocked by three cruel radio hosts in an Atlanta program on Monday. By the end of the day, Nick Cellini, Steak Shapiro and Chris Dimino for WQXI-AM, 790 The Zone’s Mayhem in the AM had been axed by the station for a three-minute long segment mocking Gleason’s disability.

You can read The Inquisitr’s full report here.

Some of you may be scratching your heads and wondering why the Atlanta radio hosts ever thought the so-called joke was funny to begin with. Well, as the peanut gallery is saying around here, I was going to call Atlanta and ask a few questions about it…but I couldn’t get a ring.


Yes, folks, it’s probably just that simple.

790 AM is the station that holds the rights to broadcast Atlanta Falcons games. The Atlanta Falcons are widely regarded — at least by folks in Atlanta — as one of the best football teams in the NFL.

And yet, somehow, it’s the sometimes-struggling New Orleans Saints who hold a Superbowl ring.

Steve Gleason is the former Saints player whose blocked punt in a 2006 game made him a symbol of New Orleans recovery after Hurricane Katrina. He retired as a New Orleans Saint in 2007 and revealed that he was fighting Lou Gehrig’s disease, more formally known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), in 2011.

His courage in the face of a disease that has robbed him of his ability to speak in his own voice has made him a hero to many.

However, there’s a problem. That blocked punt? It came in a Sept. 25, 2006 game against long-time rival, the Atlanta Falcons — and it resulted in the first score by the Saints in New Orleans in almost 21 months.

The 2006 season ultimately became the most successful Saints season to that date, although it came only a year after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city.

Needless to say, the Atlanta Falcons are struggling to distance themselves from the tacky Atlanta radio show hosts Mayhem in the Morning segment. The Falcons didn’t authorize the so-called humor attack on Steve Gleason and they’re not happy about it.

Their statement reads in part:

“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. To single out Steve the way he was this morning is totally lacking in taste and discretion.”


Steve Gleason has already risen above the controversy, releasing a statement Monday afternoon that he’s vacationing with friends and family. Being with those close to him is “far more important than addressing a talk show that has no relevance.”

But angry Saints fans are still fired up. It’s yet another reason to cheer on the Saints when they next meet the Atlanta Falcons.

Still, it’s a sad day when a natural team rivalry results in a cruel verbal attack on a severely disabled player like Steve Gleason.

[Rita Benson Superbowl ring photo by Photo Works /]