Fired Radio Host Steak Shapiro Admits Segment Would Offend Him

Wednesday, 19 Jun 2013 08:04 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Steak Shapiro, a veteran sports broadcaster who was fired with two hosts from an Atlanta sports talk station for making fun of a dying former NFL player, admitted Tuesday even he "would have been offended" by their comments.

Shapiro, Chris Dimino, and Nick Cellini were fired from WQXI-AM Monday for their two-minute segment mocking retired New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, who is suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease and can only speak using a machine.

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"The pressure is to try to do a good radio show, and that wasn't a good moment," Shapiro told CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin about his segment on the show "Mayhem in the AM." "It was a horrible moment."

CNN reported that Shapiro offered no defense for the segment, which he described as pulled together at the last moment.

"I want to apologize to Steve Gleason and all the folks who were hurt by this," Shapiro told Baldwin. "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."

All three hosts have apologized on Twitter.

"My apologies to everyone," Cellini tweeted apology. "It was a stupid attempt at humor that backfired. Emphasis on stupid."

The "Mayhem" crew found at least one supporter in Sirius XM radio host Jay Thomas, who said he believes the radio station overreacted by firing the three men.

Thomas, who is based in New Orleans, did not defend the offensive segment but told CNN that the hosts could have had more impact by spending time talking to Gleason about ALS on their radio program and raised money for the cause.

"That was a dumb thing to say, but no one is yelling for them to get fired," Thomas told CNN. "It's a terrible thing, a stupid thing. But yeah, you make mistakes."

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