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News with a Twist
06/19/13

Steve Gleason’s response to Atlanta DJs is why we love him

New Orleans hero Steve Gleason wasn’t as offended as most folks were by the Atlanta sports talk show hosts’ tasteless bit on his struggle with ALS.  And yesterday, his response to the morning zoo skit was typical Gleason.

Steve Gleason isn’t a hero for the way he’s handling ALS.  Steve Gleason is a hero because he’s handling ALS the way you would expect him to.

Gleason has always been extraordinary.  An athlete that had no business playing college football and being a star at Washington State or in the PAC-10.  He obviously was not supposed to be anywhere near an NFL field much less play for 7 seasons.  And becoming captain of the Saints team was never gonna happen to a backup safety and special teams ace, but it did.

Steve Gleason has always been an over achiever.  A blue collar athlete at best who always gave his all, always.  And obviously still does.  Mr 110%.

We are all fond of Steve Gleason because of who he is and has continued to be even with a debilitating disease.  In his response Gleason said we all make mistakes and then proceeded to fully accepted those misguided individuals’ apologies.

Gleason said how we react to our mistakes is who we are.  Well, we all know who Steve Gleason is.  An exceptional human being that rises above the fray.  He always has.  Did you honestly expect something else from a super-hero?

In 1939, Rhett Butler shocked the American movie going public with his infamous “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn” line. Then, use of curse words in public was frowned upon, but it didn’t require armies of censors to enforce the purity, instead, folks exercised self-censorship, believing their characters and souls would be better off if vulgarity never crossed their lips. Today we are not so motivated and thus radio audiences can be regaled with all manner of sexual innuendo, descriptions of body functions and yes, frequent, nay, perfunctory use of the word “damn”. But this is just the tip of our foul language iceberg, now it is fashionable to mock those who pray for the souls of aborted babies and adults suffering debilitating illnesses, like Steve Gleason.

Gleason played for the New Orleans Saints has been diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and began a courageous fight against the disease that afflicts Steven Hawking. Yesterday, an Atlanta based radio show “Mayhem in the A.M.” chose to lampoon Gleason’s inability to speak without using a computer voice simulator. After their tasteless “parody” aired and a public outcry ensued, the 3 show hosts were suspended then fired.

I wis to draw the distinction between what was not done by the hosts and then to the hosts.

John Adams said “freedom is not the right to do as you please, but the liberty to do as you ought.” What “ought” the Mayhem hosts have done? Well, had they been raised in a culture that valued manners, decency and Christian charity, they might have praised Gleason for his courage and offered to shake cans for ALS research outside a Falcons home game.

After their firing the public reaction is one of relief that such motley characters are no longer on air to ply their vulgar arts. This from the same public that delights in the movie “The Hangover” and made household names out of Paris Hilton & Kim Kardashian. In other words, this culture we live in is only outraged by vulgar behavior when it is guilt tripped into “giving a damn.”

Capture“Regarding the DJ skit in Atlanta yesterday. I would like to thank the public for their support. ‘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.

“I think everyone can learn from this event. Its clear to me that, on a national & global scale, ALS is not understood, which is part of why its under funded and largely ignored. In the past 36 hours lots of people have been talking. Lets talk about this… There are zero treatments for ALS. If you take any action as a result of this event, I prefer it to be action to end ALS. See what we are doing to change that @ teamgleason.org. SG”

The DJs responsible for a segment making fun of Steve Gleason and his ALS illness have been fired, according to a statement by the station manager on their website.

“We suspended the three individuals involved immediately following their comments and have since terminated their employment,” the statement reads (click here to read the full statement).

The DJs – Nick Cellini, Chris Dimino, and Steak Shapiro – came under fire for a three-minute segment broadcast Monday morning where they used a computer to speak made up responses from Steve Gleason, even going so far as to make him appear to say he may not still be alive on Thursday.

Listen to the full segment here:

Gleason has not responded publicly to the broadcast.

steve gleason 400×225People from across the country – and especially Saints fans from New Orleans – have been lashing out at a morning DJ team in Atlanta for a segment where they made fun of Steve Gleason and his ALS illness.

According to one poster on TigerDroppings.com, the radio hosts on 790 The Zone “did this 3 minute joke where they pretended that Steve Gleason called in and they asked him questions. Most of his responses were in the form of a knock knock joke and at one point he says he doesn’t know if he will be alive next Thursday.”

Apparently the “joke” was triggered by Gleason’s Monday Morning Quarterback column posted this morning on Sports Illustrated’s website.

The station posted a formal apology Monday afternoon, saying, “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. The members of the show involved with this incident have been suspended indefinitely pending further management review of their actions.”

In addition, one of the hosts, Nick Cellini, tweeted:

This apology was only after hundreds of people posted on the station’s Facebook page calling for more than an apology.

Scott Fujita, a former Saint who has maintained a close friendship with Gleason since leaving the team, tweeted:

Gleason himself has not spoken publicly about the incident.

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