790 The Zone, a sports radio station based in Atlanta, has a morning segment correctly titled Mayhem in the A.M. that made headlines Monday for unethical jokes targeted at former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason.
We’ll skimp on the contents of the joke, but ProFootballTalk has obtained the audio if you are curious enough to know why the internet was in an uproar yesterday and the three hosts of the skit were fired hours afterward.
As you are likely already aware thanks to his outstanding work on the subject, Gleason suffers from ALS and has dedicated his life after football to finding a cure and combating the disease in any way possible. He is widely admired not only in the NFL community, but around the globe as an ambassador on the issue.
The Atlanta Falcons even came to Gleason’s aid and released an official statement on the matter, divulging into what a serious issue ALS is (via ProFootballTalk):
“The Falcons are disappointed in the comments made about former Saints player Steve Gleason on a local Atlanta radio station Monday morning,” the team’s statement said. “The content concerning Mr. Gleason was completely inappropriate and is not representative of the views of the Falcons organization, nor does it represent the way we conduct our business on and off the field. To single out Steve the way he was this morning is totally lacking in taste and discretion.”
According to Katherine Terrell of NOLA.com, the hosts responsible for the crude jokes have since apologized. Knowing how kindhearted Gleason has proven to be in all walks of life, he’ll probably accept the apology as no big deal.
That doesn’t me we can, or will.
The jokes were clearly in bad taste and it’s an unacceptable topic to joke about, even if was not intended to be malicious. There’s throwing jabs at a rival market or team, and there’s this, which is the pinnacle of unethical behavior in both a normal and journalistic sense (not that we consider shock jocks to be journalists in any sense of the word).
The fight rages on for Gleason and we’ll be with him every step of the way. This is but a minor bump in the road, albeit one that managed to draw the ire of the nation.