Former Saints special teams icon Steve Gleason said Tuesday via his foundation’s Facebook page that he accepted the apologizes of three Atlanta sports radio talk-show hosts that mocked his incurable and fatal disease.
Their on-air skit one day earlier centered around a mock interview of Gleason, 36, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The degenerative disease attacks motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord.
“Mayhem In The AM” hosts Steve “Steak” Shapiro and Chris Dimino pretended to interview Gleason, played by co-host Nick Cellini, who mimicked Gleason’s computer-assisted voice with a tangent of dark knock-knock jokes.
Other jokes included Gleason, who is wheelchair bound, pleading for an assisted suicide.
“We have all made mistakes in this life,” Gleason wrote. “How we learn from our mistakes is the measure of who we are.”
The hosts were fired Monday.
“I have so many people I have to apologize to,” Domino said. “I know this is not who I am. ... But it is who I am today. An apology here means nothing if I ... don’t reach out to all the people I need to. I am in that process as we speak. Friends and family and most importantly, those I know I hurt.”
Gleason’s blocked punt against the Atlanta Falcons in 2006 came to symbolize the city’s recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina. He retired after eight seasons and in 2011, went public with his diagnosis.
“It’s clear to me that, on a national & global scale, ALS is not understood, which is part of why its under funded and largely ignored,” he wrote. “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.”