Dwight Clark, the legendary 49ers receiver who later served as general manager of the Browns, announced recently that he was diagnosed with ALS. Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar apparently thinks that’s something to joke about.
Kosar, who has a track record of making rambling and inappropriate statements on the radio, did so again on Wednesday, when he said on ESPN Radio in Cleveland that he suspected Clark may have already had ALS when he was the G.M. in Cleveland and that was why he didn’t succeed in that role.
“We had a bad weekend with Gale Sayers being diagnosed [with dementia] . . . Dwight Clark with ALS,” Kosar said. “I could make a joke about his struggles in picking players when he was here. It almost makes me wonder if maybe it started earlier.”
To joke about someone suffering ALS — as cruel a diagnosis as anyone can ever receive — is shockingly callous. It’s also extremely ignorant to suggest that ALS would affect a general manager’s decision making. ALS does horrific things to the body, but it doesn’t touch a sufferer’s mind. (Stephen Hawking has been making brilliant scientific discoveries for decades while suffering from ALS.)
After people on Twitter told Kosar he should apologize to Clark, Kosar answered by tweeting, “I absolutely Ment [sic] no Disrespect to Dwight!”
Kosar may not have meant disrespect, but his comment was certainly disrespectful. Perhaps it’s time that radio stations stop giving him a platform.