A New Low: Atlanta radio station spoofs Gleason - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

A New Low: Atlanta radio station spoofs Gleason

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I've been in the business of broadcast journalism for more than 3½ decades now, and I thought I'd heard it all -- the lowest of the low, the Howard Stern's of the world, for whom nothing appears to be out of bounds or off limits.

But what I heard Monday morning takes the cake, the ice cream and every other prize one can offer for crassness and tastelessness.

A local sports talk radio show in Atlanta, "Mayhem In The AM" on 790 The Zone, decided - for some reason - that it was a good idea to spoof former Saints player Steve Gleason by staging a mock interview with him on the air, as the Gleason "actor" spoke with a computerized voice. There were knock-knock jokes involved, and so on, for several minutes.

Well, for those of you who don't know, Steve Gleason - one of the Saints' heroes upon the team's return to the Superdome post-Katrina in a win over Atlanta - is stricken with ALS. He is wheelchair-bound and has very limited use of his hands. He must speak with the aid of a computer. He's a husband and the father of a young son. He is an inspiration to others suffering from this horrible disease.

For Steak Shapiro and Nick Cellini, the co-hosts of the broadcast, to poke fun at ANYONE suffering as Gleason and his family are is simply inhuman. They were, suspended, then terminated (along with a third unnamed staffer), for their lack of judgment and taste. I know both men through my years of working in Atlanta, yet I am shocked beyond words and think termination is an appropriate response. I don't know what they were thinking about, but I do know they weren't thinking responsibly.

To Cellini's credit, he offered an apology via Twitter: "My apologies to everyone. It was a stupid attempt at humor that backfired. Emphasis on stupid." Too little, too late.

Shapiro, to my knowledge as of this writing, has said nothing. But what I find befuddling about his part in all of this is the fact that he attended Tulane and should know what Gleason means to the city of New Orleans.

The station's senior vice president, Rick Mack, issued this statement: "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."

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