Radio hosts fired: Saints safety Steve Gleason responds

Radio hosts fired: Three Atlanta talk radio hosts were fired for mocking ex-NFL player Steve Gleason, who has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease. How did Steve Gleason respond?

The cast of an Atlanta sports radio show has been fired after mocking a former NFL player who has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, a station official said Monday.

The show, Mayhem in the AM, was broadcast on 790 The Zone Monday morning. In a statement, General Manager Rick Mack said the station regrets comments made about ex-New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason.

ALS patients typically  lose the ability to speak and move, which has happened to Gleason.

The station lists the hosts as Nick Cellini, Steak Shapiro and Chris Dimino. But Mack didn't give the names of those fired.

During the segment, two of the on-air personalities took a call from a third host who pretended to be Gleason by using a voice that sounded automated — mimicking another famous ALS patient, Stephen Hawking.

The host pretending to be Gleason told a series of jokes and eventually asked the two others to do him a favor by smothering him.

All three took to Twitter Monday evening to apologize to fans and others who criticized the segment. On CNN, Steak Shapiro said: "You walk a fine line trying to be somewhat on the edge. We blew it. We blew it in a huge way."

Listeners and critics turned to the station's Facebook page to call for the hosts' termination.

Gleason responded with a statement on his Facebook page, which said in part: 

"Regarding the DJ skit in Atlanta yesterday. I would like to thank the public for their support," he wrote. "'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."

Gleason played for the Saints between 2000 and 2006. Team Gleason, an organization named after the former NFL player, is geared toward finding a cure for ALS, raising awareness of the disease and connecting patients to technology, equipment and services tailored to fit their needs.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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