- (Photo: Twitter)
Fired radio host Steak Shapiro has apologized for his distasteful on-air joke that made fun of dying former NFL player Steve Gleason.
Veteran sports broadcaster Shapiro, Chris Dimono and Nick Cellini, were all fired from WQXI-AM sports talk station on Monday for their segment on "Mayhem in the AM" which mocked Gleason, who currently suffers from Lou Gehrig's disease.
Gleason was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2011 and can only communicate with a machine. In the segment, the three hosts spoke in computerized voices making fun of Gleason, who cannot speak because of his ALS.
Shapiro admitted that even he would have been offended by his comments, telling CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin in an interview that it was a horrible moment.
"The pressure is to try to do a good radio show, and that wasn't a good moment," he said.
The host apologized to Gleason and his family for the joke. "I want to apologize to Steve Gleason and all the folks who were hurt by this," Shapiro told CNN. "It was an ill attempt at humor that absolutely fell short. It's been a horrible 24 hours. It's something I deeply regret and wish it had never happened."
The three hosts extended their apologies via Twitter as well.
Cellini tweeted: "My apologies to everyone. It was a stupid attempt at humor that backfired. Emphasis on stupid."
Gleason himself responded to the hosts' apologies via Facebook. He posted a message which read: "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. "
He also posted another message on June 18: "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"