by Fitzgerald Cecilio
The hosts of Atlanta sports radio program "Mayhem in the AM" were fired after mocking former New Orleans Saints defensive back Steve Gleason, who has Lou Gehrig's disease or also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), during a segment.
"We deeply regret the offensive programming that aired this morning on 'Mayhem In The AM' on 790 The Zone, related to former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason and his battle with ALS," 790 The Zone general manager Rick Mack said in a statement.
"We suspended the three individuals involved immediately following their comments and have since terminated their employment," added Mack, referring to Nick Cellini, Steak Shapiro and Chris Dimino.
Mack also apologized to Gleason, his family and all those touched by ALS for the incident.
During the segment, two of the on-air personalities took a call from a third host who pretended to be Gleason by using a voice that sounded like another famous ALS patient, Stephen Hawking.
The host mimicking Gleason told a number of jokes and eventually asked the two others to do him a favor by smothering him.
The three hosts later apologized to Gleason for their actions, with Shapiro promising to work with Team Gleason, an organization established to help others with the same disease as the defensive back.
Later, Gleason issued a statement on his Facebook page, saying he accepted the apologies from the hosts.
"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," Gleason said.
Gleason played for seven years with the Saints from 2000-2006 before he was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.