50° Good Morning
50° Good Morning

Radio hosts fired over Steve Gleason remarks

Steve Gleason, right, a former New Orleans Saints

Steve Gleason, right, a former New Orleans Saints NFL football special teams standout who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, demonstrates the newest technology for Team Gleason House, a residence he is creating for up to 18 people with ALS and multiple sclerosis, during a news conference in New Orleans. (Jan. 17, 2013) Credit: AP Photo Gerald Herbert

Three Atlanta radio talk-show hosts have been fired for mocking former Saints safety Steve Gleason, who suffers from ALS. Management from 790 AM made the announcement this afternoon, hours after a segment in which the three hosts made fun of Gleason.

During the segment, someone saying he was Gleason called into the show as part of what was billed as a "media tour." The person pretended to be Gleason, who can only speak through a computer that he inputs words by using his eyes. He has minimal use of his limbs because of the disease.

Some of the tasteless comments made by the person imitating Gleason.

“I wish I could play.”

“I blame Gregg Williams (the Saints former defensive coordinator who was caught up in the bounty scandal from 2009-11)”

“Smother me. Do me a favor.”

“I’m going to hell.”

Just reprehensible.

Seriously, what gets into people? Here you have a man who is stricken with a fatal disease, who is trying to live out his life with meaning by pushing for increased research into ALS and helping so many others afflicted with the disease. And these guys do a radio bit at his expense, with comments that are beyond cruel.

It's mind-numbingly hurtful, and there is zero justification for it. A comedy bit? Please. It's pathetic. 

Gleason, who filled in this week as a guest writer for Sports Illustrated’s Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback, did not comment on the incident.

A spokesperson for Team Gleason, his charitable foundation that helps raise money for and awareness of ALS, told the New Orleans Times-Picayune that Gleason was on vacation with his family.

“At this time, we don’t feel the need to issue a statement, as it takes time away from the important things Steve and Team Gleason are doing,” said Clare Durrett said, executive director of Team Gleason.  “Currently, Steve is enjoying a much needed vacation in the Northwest and spending time with friends and family. He is having an extraordinary day so far, having been the guest writer for Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback and is now interviewing Pearl Jam.

“Following up the rest of the day, Steve will be with Michel and son Rivers enjoying the lakes and mountains that surround them, which is far more important than addressing a talk show that has no relevance to his efforts.”

New York Sports