Fired radio hosts offer apologies for making fun of Steve Gleason


The three Atlanta radio knuckleheads who thought it would be hilarious to make fun of former Saints safety Steve Gleason’s struggle with ALS have all issued abject apologies after they were fired for the stunt.

Nick Cellini, Chris Dimino and Steve “Steak” Shapiro are the three “Mayhem in the A.M.” hosts who were fired by 790 The Zone for the bit, and they’ve all released statements saying they’re sorry.

I deeply regret the ill attempt at humor from this morning’s show,” Cellini wrote on Facebook on Monday night. “I have personally apologized to Steve Gleason and his wife. The comments were insensitive and offensive and do not represent my personal views regarding the severity of the disease.”

“The sheer stupidity of trying to put this as a failed attempt at humor is not lost on me,” Dimino wrote on Facebook. “My apologies go out first to Steve Gleason and his family. The weight of what he and they are going through did not need to be made heavier or worse by the pure and straight insensitivity of my actions.”

“I love the people and city of New Orleans, always have, always will,” Shapiro wrote on Twitter. “Team Gleason I will work tirelessly to make this up to you.”

The question these apologies doesn’t answer is, What were they thinking? There may be no statement that can answer that.

73 responses to “Fired radio hosts offer apologies for making fun of Steve Gleason

  1. What were they thinking?

    Switching places with three people in the unemployment line. The summer is always a good time to collect unemployment and hit the beach.

  2. I find it disgusting how often the people involved in this incident have made comments about it being a “failed attempt at humor” or some other such comment. The success or failure of the joke is irrelevant. What they did would have been offensive whether or not it ended up being funny to anyone. Jokes that ridicule a person’s disability just simply shouldn’t be said, no matter how funny they are.

  3. As a rule I never call for people to be fired for their free speech no matter how idiotic(and yes, this was INCREDIBLY idiotic) but I definitely do not feel bad for them.

    What I really hate are apologies these days. They feel so stock and scripted and are probably written, partially or wholly, by PR “experts”. I wish one of these guys would come out to a press conference empty-handed and just do a genuine stream-of-consciousness apology to Gleason and his family. Now THAT would be manning up.

  4. The Big Bang Theory makes fun of Stephen Hawking and his ALS = #1 rated sitcom on TV.

    Some dumb radio jocks make fun of Gleason and his ALS = fired.

    Faux outrage if you ask me. Genuine outrage wouldn’t be so inconsistent. Bunch of hypocrites. People rip the media and politicians for picking the easy battles — but you people all do the same thing. Again, hypocrites.

  5. Call me a skeptic but I doubt any of this would have happened if Gleason’s name was Palin and he had a down syndrome son they were making fun of.

  6. This storyline is becoming Tim Tebowesque. I’m starting not to car about Gleason and feeling bad for the radio hosts. I believe this country use to be America.

  7. While everyone has a right to boycott, call on their sponsors to pull their ads, or just not listen to the show, you don’t have a right to not be offended. Is this becoming for a professional organization? Definitely not. But no one gets to pass judgment on what is and what isn’t funny. Humor is all relative.

    And if you’re really upset and shocked by words, then someone needs to stick a pacifier back in your mouth.

  8. WatchThis says: Jun 18, 2013 1:15 PM

    What are ANY of the shock jocks thinking?

    “SHOCK JOCK” is a word that the media created because of the KING of Al Media Howard Stern. The problem with these guys in radio they all try to be like Howard, They try to be “shocking” They think that’s the key to success like Howard has but what they don’t understand is Howard never tried to be shocking he was just himself talking like regular people talk which was never herd before on radio or TV. Howard Stern show was the first reality show. Howard had his whole staff on the air talking about their personal lives something that was never done on TV or Radio before. Howard Stern is radio. FM Radio died once Howard left FM radio for SIRIUSxm. These radio program directors are always looking for the new Howard so they go out and try to get guys to do “shocking” stuff to get ratings but it always fails. Nobody has been able to fill Howards shoes..Nobody
    These guys should of never been fired for this by the way people are way to sensitive. It was a bad attempt at being funny. It was not funny but they should not lose their jobs. The only reason why they got fired it because of pressure from sites like this

  9. Again, it’s crazy that in this day and age 3 or more people can be do damn stupid think that was really a good idea! You have to be dumber than the dumbest to say ” this is a great idea for our morning show!”

  10. Part of me sympathizes with the people charged to create content for a radio show like that every single day. They’re already pigeonholed into having to talk about something as one-dimensional and simplistic as sports for 3-4 hours, and then you’re expected to be comedic or controversial for ratings too?

    Don’t get me wrong: this bit was really unfortunate, but it can’t be easy to walk that line everyday and never cross it. This situation is the fault of talk radio as much as it is these three gentlemen.

    I’m sure even Steve Gleason isn’t happy to put people on the unemployment line.

  11. Any radio company who hires these idiots in the future should be called out and boycotted off the air. That’s how you take care of business in these times. You do that by putting pressure on advertisers to not advertise with them. Rush Limbaugh knows how it works.

  12. They meant to say, “I’m sorry I was fired.” Because if they didn’t lose their jobs over the deal they would of never issued an apology. How pathetic not to contact Gleason personally but went through social media outlets instead, losers!

  13. “The question these apologies doesn’t answer is, What were they thinking? There may be no statement that can answer that.”

    Bingo. That was/is the prevailing question going through my mind when I read these apologies. I guess examining the answer to that question would be to admit that behaving like a fourth-grader in a school yard is par for the course on sports radio these days.

    It’s sorta like Spygate or Bountygate. It goes on across the profession, but a scapegoat is selected, roasted on a spit, and hung out to dry as an example to all.

    These guys aren’t the only ones on radio engaging in low brow behavior, but they are our scapegoat du jour.

  14. Finally got around to listening to this. Dewey decimal level unfunny and made almost no sense. If I had to whatever these guys filled hours of with every day for my commute I’d pick up and move.

  15. If those commenting can’t figure out the difference between the Palin jokes (which are admittedly in poor taste and I would never laugh at) and the Gleason jokes, which directly poked fun at his impending death, you aren’t very bright. But I’m sure Sarah would be proud of your attempts to inject your political agenda into the discussion.

  16. For those wondering where the outrage was in other situations such as Bill Maher and The Big Bang Theory, did you ever consider that maybe the same people didn’t hear about or see all of these situations?

    I don’t watch Bill Maher and have no interest in The Big Bang Theory, and yet according to your points, I would be inconsistent to be outraged about the Steve Gleason situation.


  17. tlmoon2112 says: Call me a skeptic but I doubt any of this would have happened if Gleason’s name was Palin and he had a down syndrome son they were making fun of.

    Excellent comment and, as we have seen since 2008, absolutely true.

  18. Again it’s worth noting this radio station and all these hosts do an all day radiothon every year for Camp Twin Lakes for children with serious illnesses and diseases and I’m pretty sure Shapiro even sits on their board, so a few minutes of bad jokes does not tell the story of anyone’s life work.

  19. People don’t seem to get the simplest of concepts. The three idiots were fired out of the fear it would cost the station advertising revenue, which is the ONLY reason radio exists. It’s really not all that complicated, folks.

  20. Essentially every instance of bullying is a bad attempt at being funny, so people who want to use “it was a joke” as a blanket defense are ignorant as hell. All jokes, venues, and situations are not the same.

  21. @azarkhan and @tlmoon2112

    You are right. You are the victims here. Congratulations.

  22. allascowboys says:
    Jun 18, 2013 1:07 PM
    No need to give an apology. Bunch of sensative sallies these days.
    Incredibly embarrassed to know we cheer for the same team after seeing that comment

  23. Please read the article on that is linked above.

    After reading it, there is one person (Dimino) of the three who seems genuinely contrite and sorry for his role in what happened. One (Cellini) first blames the radio station and says that the firing was a cost saving move by a failing radio station and the other (Shapiro) never even mentions the words ‘sorry’ or ‘apology’.

  24. They should be fired for being terrible at their jobs. There are so many good targets and things worthy of ridicule and satire, what are they trying to do with ALS? It is as though they find something totally inappropriate and offensive for their stupid bit and worry about the comedy later.

  25. ITs against the law on Fla to harm or harvest sea turtle eggs. But its not against the law to harm a human egg, now its against PFT law to humorize an ALS victim. I see hypocrisy some where here. It maybe insensitive and crosses the boundary of good taste but who says human beings have good taste or good sense? Some of you PFT morons have blasted Tim Tebow to the point of bad taste for the simple fact he’s a Christian. So I personally apologize to Steve Gleason for sports media types who have ever uttered a stupid or insensitive word or phrase which is almost by the minute. Steve you gave higher mountains to climb without worrying about idiots.

  26. I don’t see the difference between the palin jokes and the gleason joke. Both are an attempt to poke fun at a horrible debilitating problem. And to the guy that said its different because Gleason is dying prematurely the same thing happens to people with Down syndrome. I don’t think it was an attempt to inject politics into the debate the two situations are identical the only difference is in this society when you attack right wing people the media largely ignores it. Both situations are god awful to the families involved the main difference I see is that the people with downs don’t nescassarily understand what they are missing out on in life.

  27. ALSO I don’t watch Big Bang Theory, but I looked up the episode where they make fun of Steven Hawking. The jokes are all based on actual competitiveness between the character and the figure, it is supposed to put the characters in a bad light, and they have the actual Steven Hawking make a cameo to defend himself and insult the character in a much more intelligent way. When you compare it with this Gleason situation it is like a blueprint of how they did it wrong, so thank you for bringing this up, but you are misguided as hell.

  28. It was a stupid thing and I’m glad he apologized. Heavens knows I have said very stupid things about people and done worse things. All we can do is grow and learn as humans, and I hope these guys do just that.

  29. lightcleric says: Jun 18, 2013 12:55 PM

    As a rule I never call for people to be fired for their free speech no matter how idiotic(and yes, this was INCREDIBLY idiotic) but I definitely do not feel bad for them.
    I hate when someone mentions free speech in a situation like this. The radio station DID NOT violate these DJ’s free speech rights. This station wasn’t NPR or their own little pirate radio. They were paid to run a show on a private company’s radio channel and when they crossed the line they got tossed to the curb. I do agree with your statement of not feeling bad for the end results of their actions.

  30. Here is what Team Gleason has to say about the situation. Looks like they want to leave the drama behind and continue to promote ALS awareness and find a cure:

    “Regarding the DJ skit in Atlanta yesterday. I would like to thank the public for their support. ‘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.

    I think everyone can learn from this event. Its clear to me that, on a national & global scale, ALS is not understood, which is part of why its under funded and largely ignored. In the past 36 hours lots of people have been talking. Lets 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 @ SG”

    I lost my father to ALS. If you haven’t seen it first hand, how cruel it really is seems to be impossible. All the best to Steve, OJ, and the countless others battling this disease. Let’s hope there’s treatment and a cure soon.

  31. Isn’t Nick the brother of Vince Cellini?
    Would he think cancer jokes are funny? What a bunch of idiots…

  32. Judge the act, not the person. I doubt any of the commenters know any of these three guys personally to be able to judge whether this was just one big stupid mistake and whether their apologies, which apparently included personal apologies to Gleason and his wife, are sincere or not. I certainly don’t.

    Good people frequently have major lapses in judgment and do stupid, hurtful things. It’s human nature. It appears these guys are standing up and acknowledging the incredible stupidity of what they did, accepting the consequences, and are trying to make amends. It’s premature and unfair to simply dismiss that out of hand and condemn them without knowing anything about these guys and before seeing what they do from here on out.

    It is how people respond to their inevitable human failings that matters most.

  33. It probably was not the proper venue in hindsight. These guys are wannabecomedienes and would have had no complaints performing on stage. It may sound cliche’ but people are just too sensitive these days. It’s ridiculous how soft a society we have become. We claim to be strong. And how is it that everyone and their mother can come out and be offended by something or someone that doesn’t affect them. Everyone is trying to be a caretaker. If I was Gleason, I would have laughed my arse off. I’m sure he has better things to worry about then 2 guys pulling a skit. I sure as heck wouldn’t be boo hooing to everyone after this happened. He’s a grown man for crying out loud. Jokes don’t kill people.

  34. draftrobot says:
    Jun 18, 2013 1:52 PM
    Again it’s worth noting this radio station and all these hosts do an all day radiothon every year for Camp Twin Lakes for children with serious illnesses and diseases and I’m pretty sure Shapiro even sits on their board, so a few minutes of bad jokes does not tell the story of anyone’s life work.

    Thank you “draftrobot”! I’ve listened to these three men on the radio for 15+yrs. before the station went to sportstalk and they are ‘good people’. Losing their jobs aside, I know they regret what they did. But, PLEASE, enough of the hatred being thrown at these guys! Alot of the people posting comments the last 24hrs act like they won’t be satisfied until the three are ‘taken out back and shot’…..

  35. To all of the people who think there is too much “sensitivity” regarding this issue: Let us know when one of your loved ones is facing imminent death from a disease or illness. I’m sure you wont have a problem with them being made the butt of ridiculous jokes as you stand by and watch them die.

  36. Who cares. The masses got what they wanted, they got fired. The only thing that kept me from laughing was their attempt at humor, not the subject matter. Can’t wait for football to start so stories like this get buried quickly.

  37. They apologized for the same reason they were fired. The response.

    More than likely what they were thinking was that people would cringe the way someone cringes when they see someone hit in the crotch in a movie. I have no intention of listening to it but it seems directed at that same type of “comedy” audience.

    Atlanta is a great area to live but it is a terrible sports town with even more terrible sports radio. I thought Mayhem in the AM sucked when I lived there. The biggest plus they had was the 690 show was even worse.

    Overall I think they should have been suspended without pay for 30 days. Time puts things into perspective. If the feeling was such that they needed to be fired at that point… so be it. Although I don’t advocate what they did and it does overstep my personal boundaries, firing seems harsh. They are (were) paid to be caustic and controversial. For most people it clearly went too far. I’m just a little aprehensive about ending someone’s livlihood because they didn’t think something thru.

  38. Living in Atlanta I actually listened to these idiots for all of 3 days last football season. There show is nothing more than 3 drunken college kids trying out for a spot on comedy central. Dimino is the only one who has a sports mind! Hopefully Shapiro LEAARRNNNEDD something about this.

  39. The reason they issued such a “from the heart” apology might be that they are afraid of never being hired by any radio station in the entire USA again.

  40. these guys should have been fired a long time ago and shuold be told to go work in a hospital with disabeled people for making such rude and stupid jokes about a guy who is dying of als this is not funny and there should be some kind of charges filed against them for this behaviur jerks

  41. Yeah it is hilarious to tell someone with a terminal illness that they may be dead before Thursday and that they are going to hell! If you think that these jokes are funny you have some serious soul searching to do!!!

  42. A couple of quick thoughts.

    First, this isn’t a free speech issue. They aren’t going to jail. They represent a company (Lincoln Media, I believe) and as such, are subject to their standards and practices. This is an employment issue, and you can bet that all three were terminated with cause.

    Second, with regard to the Palin comments, I find those to be in very bad taste, as well – both the comments I’ve heard that refer to their son, and the comments written above related this to Palin. I don’t care where anyone stands on her or other politics, but to bring that reference into this discussion is both idiotic and ignorant.

    There is a line you just do not cross in every business, and these three guys crossed it. That doesn’t mean they are horrible people, that doesn’t mean they are unemployable, and I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to jail. They made a mistake – granted an egregious one – and they paid the penalty appropriately. The key will be if they learn from it or not.

    Ultimately, everyone here needs to remember that while nobody at all wins in situations such as this, Steve Gleason is going to lose his life. And unfortunately, that is really the only that matters. Someone is losing a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend.

    Maybe instead of sniping at each other under the guise of fake names on a comment board, we should all donate some $$$ to ALS research instead.

  43. Several years ago, Nick Cellini did a sickening, disgusting imitation of Roger Ebert, who died recently after an eleven year battle with several forms of cancer, starting with papillary thyroid cancer, and followed by surgeries that left him deformed and unable to speak without technological assistance. The impersonation, and the sick laughter and yucking it up that followed, can be seen on YouTube. Sorry for what he did? I seriously doubt it. Sorry that he did it, now that he got called on it and fired? Absolutely. He should never work in radio or on TV again, so that someone who is more deserving and human can have a shot at it. As for donating his first month’s pay to “teamgleason”? Cellini should be REQUIRED to do that, and more, regardless of what his next paying job is.

  44. well, if these 3 stooges want to be employed again, they’d have to apologize. But this is not tolerated. hope they learned their lesson.

  45. They aren’t sorry! They’re sorry they were fired and now they just dont want people to hate them! This isn’t like saying a swear word on accident on live TV, this was a hateful joke played on somebody who didn’t deserve it! These guys knew what they were doing and had time to think about, “well maybe this is going to far”. But they didn’t.

  46. Wow alot of perfect cynical people here. Isnt it possible they are genuinely sorry? They got caught up in the pressure of trying to be outrageous and funny and crossed a line into an area that is pure stupidity and the height of insensitivity. Not sure that means they kick puppies, beat children or trip the disabled. They got fired and they issued what sounded like sincere apologies. Move on.

  47. What these guys did is bad but the fact that they actually have an audience and radio stations market to that audience shows that there are plenty or morons amongst us.

  48. There is no “right of free speech” between private parties. The first amendment only puts parameters on the government’s ability to restrict speech. A private radio station can fire their employees for what they say. Howard Stern is actually a perfect example – he had been fired from many radio stations before he get famous. I remember when he got canned at DC 101 in the 1980’s after he made a really bad telephone prank joke the day after a plane crash.

  49. There are actions for which one simply CAN’T apologize. This was not an off the cuff, spontaneous remark. Someone, or several people invented the planned skit, and it was somehow approved by one or more person/s IN CHARGE!! In what manner can this cruel farce be explained or apologized for sufficiently?

  50. “I’m satisfied with the Atlanta Falcon franchise response. No suspensions for you.”

  51. mavajo says:
    Jun 18, 2013 1:10 PM
    The Big Bang Theory makes fun of Stephen
    Hawking and his ALS = #1 rated sitcom on TV.
    Some dumb radio jocks make fun of Gleason
    and his ALS = fired.
    Faux outrage if you ask me. Genuine outrage
    wouldn’t be so inconsistent. Bunch of
    hypocrites. People rip the media and
    politicians for picking the easy battles — but
    you people all do the same thing. Again,

    Have you ever watched ‘Big Bang Theory’? Have you even heard the so – called ‘jokes’. You need to quit jumping onto another person’s argument and do some research on your own. ‘Big Bang Theory’ idolizes Hawking and sees him as a God among all scientists and physicists. The three ‘shock jocks’ were making knock knock jokes of Gleason wishing to be smothered by a pillow.

  52. Probably got the idea from a “Family Guy” episode. Remember watching one of those having laughs at people in wheelchairs while I was in the room with a guy in a wheelchair. Longest half hour I ever spent outside of a dentist’s office.

  53. At least they stepped up and apologized like men, especially Dimino and Shapiro.

  54. It never ceases to amaze me how no matter what the issue is, there is always some right wing, knee jerk, jukebox, only too willing to demonstrate their lack of understanding about, well, just about everything. For the love of Christ, everything doesn’t have to be about your political views and the irony here is you’re the ones doing the vast majority of the pee whining. I understand some radio personalities got a little sideways and made a broadcast that was, to say the least, in poor taste. They’re adults and they should know they have to live with the consequences of their actions. I’m certain I read that somewhere in the conservative credo. Sadly what that credo neglects to mention is an order to the nature of the way things are and the difference between that stark reality and their deeply distorted worldview. While it’s been entertaining to witness these gesticulations, everything has a shelf life and I for one am growing weary of the constant interjection of political viewpoint for the sake self aggrandizement. Go flagellate to your hearts content on The Blaze or wherever it is that like minds gather to wallow in their feted sentimental proclivities.

  55. Get over it. They thought it would be funny. It wasn’t. We should probably crucify them on public television for making a mistake.

  56. He who throws stones…

    Be Honest…. Who here has NEVER, EVER, Laughed at a harelip joke.

    I am talking NEVER ONCE.

    Just click THUMBS down to this post if you truthfully have never laughed at a harelip joke in your life.

    If you click Thumbs down you either have a harelip or are a lying.

  57. “The question these apologies doesn’t answer is, What were they thinking? There may be no statement that can answer that.”


    The answer is they weren’t thinking.

  58. atlfan31833 says:Jun 18, 2013 1:21 PM

    Where was all this outrage when Bill Maher made fun of Sarah Palin’s son?


    There’s no outrage here… three idiots were fired that didn’t toe the company line.

    Bill Maher is paid to say outrageous things and he is more or less paid directly by the fans that want to hear it.

    These jokers were paid by a radio station trying to maintain a contract with an NFL franchise for radio rights. Big difference.

  59. What they said was horrible, and I can see them getting fired for it. That said, people are acting like these guys muttered someone. I’m so sick of the mock outrage when people trying to be fun y cross the line. It’s IMUS all over again…yes what was said was wrong and they should apologize. But let’s get some perspective, folks.

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