790 the Zone radio show hosts fired for mocking ALS patient

790 the Zone radio show hosts fired for mocking ALS patient

The cast of a local sports radio talk show was fired on Monday after airing a skit that mocked a former NFL player who has Lou Gehrig's disease.

The "Mayhem in the AM" show on 790 the Zone did a mock interview with Steve Gleason, a former New Orleans Saints player who is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

The skit immediately sparked outage on social media. Within a few hours, station general manager Rick Mack apologized and announced that all three hosts -- Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini, and Chris Dimino were suspended indefinitely. The GM later issued a statement saying that they had been fired.

Mack's statement on the station's website said, ""We deeply regret the offensive programming that aired this morning on "Mayhem In The AM" on 790 The Zone, related to former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason and his battle with ALS. We suspended the three individuals involved immediately following their comments and have since terminated their employment. 790 The Zone, our owners, sponsors and partners in no way endorse or support this kind of content. We sincerely apologize to Mr. Gleason, his family and all those touched by ALS."

Gleason has developed a huge following through Team Gleason, Inspiring and educating people about his battle with the disease, which is an incurable, neuro-degenerative disease.

"Steve Gleason is kind of like the new face of ALS," said Karen Duffen of the non-profit group Cure for ALS. "He's done amazing things since his diagnosis to bring awareness to ALS."

Gleason was diagnosed two years ago.  He has now lost most of his motor skills, forcing him to communicate with the help of a computerized device. Duffy says mocking his only way to speak was uncalled for.

Former host Nick Celleni issued a statement late Monday saying, "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."

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