The Atlanta Falcons released a statement Monday responding to offensive jokes made towards former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason on 790 The Zone in Atlanta. The station partners with the Falcons to broadcast games live on the radio during the season. Not surprisingly, the team took the attempt at humor very seriously.
"The Falcons are disappointed in the comments made about former Saints player Steve Gleason on a local Atlanta radio station Monday morning. The content concerning Mr. Gleason was completely inappropriate and is not representative of the views of the Falcons organization, nor does it represent the way we conduct our business on and off the field. To single out Steve the way he was this morning is totally lacking in taste and discretion."
Gleason is something of a cult hero in New Orleans. Early in the 2006 season, just over a year after Hurricane Katrina, the safety blocked a punt against the Falcons in the Superdome. The play stands as one of the more memorable moments in recent franchise history. He was eventually diagnosed with ALS, perhaps better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, and became a symbol of strength for the Saints.
The radio hosts were ultimately fired for the jokes after the station, and the hosts themselves, issued apologies.