It should go without saying that everyone in the NFL finds it appalling that an Atlanta radio station made bad jokes at the expense of former Saints safety Steve Gleason’s struggle with ALS. But the Falcons decided to say it anyway.
The Falcons released a statement on Monday evening saying the team is disgusted that three hosts at Atlanta sports radio station 790 The Zone, which is the Falcons’ flagship station, chose Gleason as the target of their poor attempt at humor.
“The Falcons are disappointed in the comments made about former Saints player Steve Gleason on a local Atlanta radio station Monday morning,” the team’s statement said. “The content concerning Mr. Gleason was completely inappropriate and is not representative of the views of the Falcons organization, nor does it represent the way we conduct our business on and off the field. To single out Steve the way he was this morning is totally lacking in taste and discretion.”
On the field, Gleason is best remembered for blocking a punt against the Falcons that led to the Saints’ first touchdown of what turned out to be a 23-3 victory in their first game back at the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina had displaced the team and ravaged New Orleans a year earlier. In retirement, Gleason has gained widespread respect for the way he has raised awareness about ALS while publicly discussing his own struggle with the disease.
Hours after the segment making fun of Gleason aired on 790 The Zone, the station fired the three people responsible.