As a player, Steve Gleason is best remembered for blocking a punt in the Saints’ return to New Orleans a year after Hurricane Katrina, a blocked punt that spurred his team to a victory over the Falcons. He’ll always be beloved in New Orleans for that.
But for courageously continuing to live his life while ALS ravaged his body, Gleason has become universally respected by everyone who knows his story. That universal respect apparently stops at Atlanta sports radio station 790 The Zone, however, where Gleason was the subject of a Monday morning segment that made fun of his disability.
ALS has robbed Gleason of the ability to do most of the simple everyday things that most of us take for granted, like speaking and using his hands. As a result, the only way Gleason is able to communicate is to use computer software that allows him to type with his eyes, and provides him with a voice to speak. The guys at 790 The Zone apparently thought it would be funny to engage in a mock interview in which they poked fun at Gleason and used a robotic voice to portray things Gleason might say.
Understandably, many listeners were angered. When contacted by PFT, 790 The Zone confirmed that it has received strong negative feedback after airing the bit. And Nick Cellini of the “Mayhem in the A.M.” show that ran the Gleason-bashing segment acknowledged on Twitter that he had made a serious error in judgment.
“My apologies to everyone. It was a stupid attempt at humor that backfired. Emphasis on stupid,” Cellini wrote.
It’s hard to imagine how anyone ever thought making fun of Steve Gleason was a good idea. There’s no word yet on whether the folks who were involved in this will remain on the air at 790 The Zone.