Sometimes I wonder if there’s any common sense left in the media.
Gleason's fight against ALS is inspiring.
The latest act of stupidity came Monday from a trio of radio hosts on Mayhem in the AM on 790 the Zone in Atlanta.
The trio, identified in various media reports as Nick Cellini, Steak Shapiro and Chris Dimino, performed an on-air skit in which they mocked former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, who has Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The skit, which you can listen to at this link, included a fake computer voice as Gleason. The lowest point, and there were many, came when the fake Gleason had the following exchange with one of the hosts...
Fake Gleason: “Knock, knock.”
Host: “Who’s there?”
Fake Gleason: “Smother”
Host: “Smother who?”
Fake Gleason: “Smother me and do me a favor.”
Unbelievable. How could anyone in their right mind find that funny or acceptable in any situation?
I understand that modern media, whether it’s on T.V., radio or the internet is pushing the boundaries. But mocking ALS patients isn’t pushing a boundary. It’s stomping on a boundary and spitting in its face.
It’s disgusting behavior and thankfully the station management suspended and then fired all three hosts. And issued an apology. The Atlanta Falcons, which had no part in the show, also felt compelled to offer their own apology.
I would personally like to apologize on behalf of the human race.
These types of personal attacks, not to this degree, are becoming more and more common. It garners the most attention when it comes from mainstream media but I see it more and more on Twitter and even or own message board at AuburnUndercover.com.
Why grown men, or women, feel it necessary to make personal attacks on rival players, coaches or fans is beyond me. I understand some comments can be humorous and it makes the rivalry that much better.
But there has to be common sense when it comes to talking about disabilities, whether that's ALS sufferers or perhaps a player with a speech impediment like Bo Jackson overcame.
And for those not familiar with Gleason’s story, just six years ago he was playing in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and his blocked punt against the Falcons in 2006 became a symbol of the city’s return from Hurricane Katrina.
ALS is a progressive disease and most victims survive only two to five years after diagnosis. Gleason was diagnosed in 2011. The only way left for him to communicate with the outside world now is through eye movements.
But he’s still fighting. He’s fighting for himself, his wife Michel, their 19-month old son, Rivers, and all the ALS sufferers he’s come to represent.
His story is an inspiration to many including me. And you can read about his fight in his own words in this story published by Sports Illustrated Monday.