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ATL Radio Host Fired For Jokes/Prank Call Mocking Steve Gleason's Disease
There's an intense NFL rivalry between the Falcons and Saints in the NFC South. But an Atlanta radio station took it several steps too far on Monday morning. Hosts of a morning program at all-sports 790 The Zone have been suspended indefinitely for making fun of Steve Gleason, a former New Orleans special teams standout who is batting Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a crippling disease.
The LSU fan site TigerDroppings.com caught wind of the on-air comments, which were not replayed or archived by the station. According to SB Nation, the "Mayhem in the AM" show distastefully faked a phone call from Gleason and mocked his voice. It was timed with Gleason's great guest Monday Morning Quarterback column for Sports Illustrated, which detailed his life with ALS and was written despite Gleason's physical inability to type.
When Gleason's former Saints teammate and good friend Scott Fujita first heard what the station did, he didn't hold back his anger on Twitter.
There was no playback, but Fujita and others got a bigger response and action from Rick Mack, senior vice president and general manager of 790 The Zone.
"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," Mack said in an issued statement. "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."
Nick Cellini, one of the hosts of "Mayhem in the AM," shared his regrets for the Gleason comments on Twitter.
My apologies to everyone. It was a stupid attempt at humor that backfired. Emphasis on stupid.
— Nick Cellini (@NickCellini) June 17, 2013
UPDATE: WTMI has posted the audio of the Gleason segment, which you can hear here.
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