Nick Cellini, Steak Shapiro and Chris Dimino, hosts of an Atlanta sports radio show called "Mayhem in the Am," performed a tasteless call-in skit on Monday morning that skewered ex-New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason (audio below).
Gleason (pictured) has ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, and has lost the ability to speak and move.
However, he was able to write an article on Monday for Sports Illustrated by using eye-tracking equipment, which apparently the radio hosts found to be a riot.
According to TheBigLead.com, the controversial radio show featured one of the hosts playing Gleason in a sick routine that featured this knock-knock joke: "Knock, knock, Who's there? Smother, Smother who? Smother me, do me a favor?"
By Monday evening, all three hosts were tweeting apologies, reports the Daily Mail.
"My apologies to everyone," Cellini tweeted. "It was a stupid attempt at humor that backfired. Emphasis on stupid."
Dimino added on his Twitter page: "I have so.many people I have to apologize to. 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."
Diminio added: "I love the people and city of New Orleans, always have, always will, @team_gleason I will work tirelessly to make this up to you...."
Steak Shapiro wrote on Twitter, "What a moronic 2 mins, I am truly sorry.... ALS not a joke, bit or game. 20 yrs on the air, 2 bad mins on a show, look at the whole picture I hope. Zone was a great ride!! #thebest."
All three hosts were fired. Although not mentioned by name, Rick Mack, 790 The Zone Sr. VP and general manager, said in a statement on the station website:
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.
We suspended the three individuals involved immediately following their comments and have since terminated their employment. 790 The Zone, our owners, sponsors and partners in no way endorse or support this kind of content. We sincerely apologize to Mr. Gleason, his family and all those touched by ALS.