|Morning show jocks at Atlanta’s 790 The Zone mocked former Saint, Steve Gleason, who is battling ALS|
No sooner do I post a column talking about how incredibly awful New Orleans Saints fans are, a local sports talk station here in Atlanta has to go and do something so incredibly stupid, that words cannot even begin to describe.
There aren’t many things that are off-limits when you do an opinionated sports talk radio show or write a column.
On that list: You don’t insult (or gawk at, Brent Musburger) players’ wives or girlfriends; you don’t make fun of a serious injury; you don’t use racial or ethnic slurs to make your point; and you don’t drop f-bombs for the sake of shock value.
DON’T MAKE FUN OF ALS!
Unbelievably, the morning sports talk show on Atlanta’s 790 The Zone–Mayhem in the A.M.–did just that, and decided it would be humorous to do a segment featuring a fake phone call from former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason, who is suffering with ALS.
So, in what production meeting was this actually discussed and decided, “Yeah, this will be funny”??
To make matters worse, Gleason’s work was featured this morning as he filled in for Sports Illustrated’s Peter King on his Monday Morning Quarterback column. The article, about dealing with ALS and courage, is getting high praise and tremendous response across the country.
And then these sapiens open their mouths.
Steve Gleason is a hero, battling one of the most painful and crippling diseases known to us, and to even consider lampooning him is a stroke of idiocy.
The disease has left Gleason without the ability to speak or use his hands. Because of this, he is only able to communicate using computer software that allows him to type with his eyes, and which provides a computer generated “voice” for his words. The fake phone call segment mocked this voice, and some things that Gleason might say in an interview.
Oh sure, the host of the show, Nick Cellini tweeted some apologies, even calling their own attempt at humor “stupid”, but the damage has been done, both to the reputation of this morning show and (once again) to Atlanta as a sports town.
My apologies to everyone. It was a stupid attempt at humor that backfired. Emphasis on stupid.
— Nick Cellini (@NickCellini) June 17, 2013
The sad thing is, this radio segment actually had nothing to do with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints or football at all. It was just a feeble attempt at some shock-jock humor that went woefully wrong. However, the impact that this will have on the games between Atlanta and New Orleans this year will be staggering, nearly nuclear.
So far, no archived version of the show has been made available online and the the show’s online archives are more than a few days old. It’s doubtful that the station will want this blight on their name out there for posterity’s sake.
This one may end up having to be in damage control for some time.
UPDATE: The station’s website made an announcement that the members of the show who took part in the parody have been indefinitely suspended. Look here for official statement.
Michael Collins is an Atlanta sports humorist, columnist, radio host and owner of Georgia Sports Craze. He is a member of the FWAA and eats peanut butter straight from the jar. Follow on Twitter @GaSportsCraze on Facebook here or on Google here