A day after three Atlanta radio hosts were fired for mocking Steve Gleason’s battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the former Saints player issued a response, accepting the apology of the men responsible for the skit.
Steak Shapiro, Chris Dimino and Nick Cellini all were fired less than 24 hours after the skit aired on their show Mayhem in the AM on 790 The Zone in Atlanta.
Tuesday, Team Gleason posted a statement on its Facebook wall, thanking those who defended him publicly.
“… I would like to thank the public for their support,” the statement read. “ 'Defend Team Gleason' now has been officially redefined. Additionally, the DJs have provided genuine apology. Received and accepted. We have all made mistakes in this life. How we learn from our mistakes is the measure of who we are.”
It went on.
“I think everyone can learn from this event. It’s clear to me that, on a national and global scale, ALS is not understood, which is part of why it’s under-funded and largely ignored. In the past 36 hours lots of people have been talking. Let’s talk about this... There are zero treatments for ALS. If you take any action as a result of this event, I prefer it to be action to end ALS. See what we are doing to change that @ teamgleason.org. SG”
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurological disease that causes muscle weakness and disability. It eventually affects the person's ability to eat, walk, talk and breathe.
The story caught fire after a thread was started on LSU fan message board TigerDroppings.com decrying the segment. The outrage quickly grew to Twitter and Facebook, where those angered by the treatment of someone suffering from a debilitating disease had an easy avenue to voice their opinion.
Gleason, the former Saints special teams standout best known for blocking a punt in the re-opening of the Superdome a year after Hurricane Katrina, uses a computer program to speak due to the advancement of ALS.
In the audio clip, obtained by New Orleans radio station 106.1 The Ticket, the Atlanta radio hosts begin by welcoming their version of Steve Gleason to the show. The computer-generated voice responds by asking a couple of questions about the hosts’ families before breaking into three knock-knock jokes.
Two of the jokes delved into the real Gleason’s battle with ALS, one of which ended with 790 The Zone’s radio-generated voice asking for the hosts to “smother” him.