Three Atlanta radio hosts were fired today after mocking former New Orleans Saints special teams player Steve Gleason and his battle with ALS.
On the morning show “Mayhem in the A.M.,” hosts Stephen “Steak” Shapiro, Chris Dimino and Nick Cellino took exception to the fact that Sports Illustrated writer Peter King had given Gleason his well-known Monday Morning Quarterback article for the week. In an incredibly poor attempt at humor, they then proceeded to pretend they had Gleason live on the phone to talk about his article.
As a result of the progressing ALS, Gleason has lost his ability to speak and can only type words with his eyes that then have to be read aloud by a computer. So, the guys from Mayhem decided to make fun of that of course. Using a fake computer voice, they had Gleason “tell” three knock, knock jokes. The most off color of them was one in which they had Gleason say “smother me” and “put me out of my misery.”
It is one of the most insensitive acts I’ve ever seen, and simply beyond belief. Making fun of a young man who is battling one of the most debilitating illnesses is downright deplorable, and frankly inexcusable. At first the three were suspended, but were later fired, probably as a result of the outrage from the public as they heard the clip on replay.
One of the hosts seemed to sense that it was inappropriate as they started the bit and said, “I just don’t know if I want to play.” It was too late.
These three should never be given a radio show again. Ever. It’s one thing to ridicule a player for his performance, or even make jokes about people’s weight. That happens all the time, and in some ways, is considered acceptable by our society. This isn’t. This is one of the cruelest jokes I’ve ever heard and it’s a complete abomination.
No apology will suffice.