This morning, long before CL staffers exited their cryogenic chambers, 790 The Zone's Mayhem in the AM aired a skit that apparently mocked former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason. I say "apparently" because, well, I'm not just an a.m. (or AM) sports radio fellow and have yet to find an online version of the segment.
The former NFL player is living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS. The terminal illness, which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, is baffling and debilitating. They poked fun at a Sports Illustrated column by Gleason that was published this morning - and, it should be noted, that was reportedly written using his eyes.
Sports fans weren't entertained. Neither was Rick Mack, senior vice president and general manager of 790 The Zone. He said in a statement that the staffers involved have been "suspended indefinitely":
"We deeply regret the comments made by Mayhem In The AM this morning on 790 The Zone regarding former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason. 790 The Zone, Lincoln Financial Media, our sponsors and partners in no way endorse or support the unfortunate and offensive commentary concerning Mr. Gleason this morning. The members of the show involved with this incident have been suspended indefinitely pending further management review of their actions."
The station also apologized on the air. Nick Cellini, one of the show's hosts, has apologized:
My apologies to everyone. It was a stupid attempt at humor that backfired. Emphasis on stupid.
- Nick Cellini (@NickCellini) June 17, 2013
UPDATE, 11:16 p.m. A Cellini spokeswoman passes along an extended apology:
"I deeply regret the ill attempt at humor from this morning's show. 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. I also apologize to the fans of the New Orleans Saints, the NFL organization and the families who have struggled with ALS and am profoundly sorry for the hurt I have caused; that was not the intent. I vow to work with Team Gleason in the fight against ALS and support the cause in any way I can."
Regardless, the Internet is not happy. And it doesn't look like the collective piling on by the angry fans is going to stop any time soon. We'll see how it ends.
The AJC's Rodney Ho reports Cellini and co-hosts Steve "Steak" Shapiro and Chris Dimino have been sacked.
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