Former New Orleans Saints player, now champion of ALS awareness, Steve Gleason is responding with class and grace to an Atlanta radio station’s mockery of him and his battle with ALS.
Tuesday afternoon, Gleason posted this message on his charity’s Facebook page:
“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”
Monday morning, hosts of 790 The Zone’s “Mayhem in the AM” performed a skit imitating and mocking the computerized voice Gleason now uses to communicate. The 36-year-old is waging his battle with ALS in the public arena, in hopes of raising awareness and finding a cure for the disease.
Monday afternoon, the radio station terminated all three employees involved in the skit after outrage poured in from across the country.
One of the fired radio hosts, Nick Cellini, initially said that his firing “came as a relief” because the radio station was a “sinking ship.”
Now, Cellini says he has personally apologized to Steve’s wife Michel and is vowing to donate a portion of his salary to the efforts of Team Gleason if he ever works in radio again.
The second terminated radio host, Steak Shapiro, went to college in New Orleans and even named his daughter “Nola.”
Shapiro tweeted out this apology:
What is so ironic is that I went to Tulane, love New Orleans and love the @steve_gleason story, what a moronic 2 mins, I am truly sorry….
“. ..My apologies go out first to Steve Gleason and his family. The weight of what he and they are going through did not need to be made heavier or worse by the pure and straight insensitivity of my actions.
I also want to offer up my apologies to all who are not only dealing with ALS..but to those who are dealing with ANYTHING that has made themself or family and friends subject to the physical and emotional heartache of any debilitating disease or condition.
As a father of two girls, I put myself in a position that I havebegged…pleaded..DEMANDED..they not put themselves in. That of the bully. The mean kid. The one who thinks what they say or do comes with no consequence. It does. It always does.
I have no illusion as to what 19 years on the radio…30 years of being a grown man..and most importantly almost 10 years of being a father..and what you build up in your name and reputation over those periods of time..should and does mean.
Now I know how quickly a stupid and worse than that non thinking moment can change all of it.
I hope I get a chance to prove this is not who I want to be. It was and is who “I am” today though. That much is not lost on me.
I have spent so long not trying to put other people in a bad place because of me. Today I failed miserably.
I’m very open to any and all dialogue as it pertains to the people I have hurt and disappointed. I’ve had that dialogue with myself..my wife and will with my kids.”