Posted: Jun 17, 2013 5:33 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2013 9:15 PM
ATLANTA (AP) - The cast of an Atlanta sports radio show has been fired after mocking a former NFL player who has Lou Gehrig's disease, a station official said Monday.
The show, Mayhem in the AM, was broadcast on 790 The Zone Monday morning. In a statement, General Manager Rick Mack said the station regrets comments made about ex-New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason.
The 36-year-old suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS patients lose the ability to speak and move, which has happened to Gleason.
The station lists the hosts as Nick Cellini, Steak Shapiro and Chris Dimino. But Mack didn't give the names of those fired.
During the segment, two of the on-air personalities took a call from a third host who pretended to be Gleason by using a voice that sounded automated - mimicking another famous ALS patient, Stephen Hawking.
The host pretending to be Gleason told a series of jokes and eventually asked the two others to do him a favor by smothering him.
All three took to Twitter Monday evening to apologize to fans and others who criticized the segment. Listeners and critics turned to the station's Facebook page to call for the hosts' termination.
Gleason played for the Saints between 2000 and 2006. Team Gleason, an organization named after the former NFL player, is geared toward finding a cure for ALS, raising awareness of the disease and connecting patients to technology, equipment and services tailored to fit their needs.
Here's the audio from the Atlanta radio show where the hosts made fun of former Saints player Steve Gleason. The three people involved have since been fired. The "Mayhem in the AM show" in Atlanta pretended to have Gleason call in and speak to the hosts with his computerized voice. Because Gleason lost the ability to speak because of ALS, he uses a computer to communicate. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiHKGZjK3XE
Their statement:"We deeply regret the offensive programming that aired this morning on "Mayhem In The AM" on 790 The Zone, related to former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason and his battle with ALS. We suspended the three individuals involved immediately following their comments and have since terminated their employment. 790 The Zone, our owners, sponsors and partners in no way endorse or support this kind of content. We sincerely apologize to Mr. Gleason, his family and all those touched by ALS." - Rick Mack, 790 The Zone Sr. VP & General Manager