Found June 18, 2013 on Fox Sports:
I've spent much of the past four months seated next to the strongest man I've ever met. O.J. Brigance, the Baltimore Ravens Senior Adviser of Player Development, was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, in the summer of 2007. He was told he likely had two to five years to live. Doctors said there was a chance he wouldn't see his 40th birthday. O.J. wouldn't have it. With his loving wife Chanda by his side and an incredible faith in God, he refused to waver or let ALS defeat him. Nearly six years later, at the age of 43, O.J. was on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome field, covered in confetti on Super Bowl Sunday. Twelve years after winning a Super Bowl with the Ravens as a player in 2000, he was a champion -- yet again. ALS has robbed Brigance of the use of his hands, his fingers, his legs, and his voice. But it hasn't touched his inner spirit. If anything, it's strengthened him; made him the more complete man. His adversity has made him bolder, braver and even hungrier. After writing a profile on O.J. for this site back in January , the two of us were approached by a publisher to write a book -- his life story. The task was daunting, at first. How would we get it done? O.J. didn't have any doubts, though. Even when I thought it'd be an uphill climb, he never did. O.J. said he had full confidence in me, full confidence that God would watch over the two of us, and full confidence that we'd get the job done in time. We agreed to take the project on, two relative strangers, rolling the dice on the trust we had in each other to share his story with the world. So, we got to work. O.J., using an incredible technology known as an augmentative communication device, would write me daily emails with his eyes. Long emails. 1,000 word emails. They were beautifully crafted -- funny, sweet, and inspiring. With the technology, his eyes would dart left and right, building out sentences, paragraphs and chapters. When he was first diagnosed in 2007, he asked the Ravens players to never pity him or treat him any different than they had beforehand. He asked that they not look the other way, either. During training camp in 2008, after he'd lost close to 100 pounds in the previous 12 months, first-year head coach John Harbaugh asked that he address the team. Brigance, with his words now slurring and most of his time spent in a motorized chair, said the following: "I want to apologize to all of you because you are going to have to go through something that no other team in the NFL will have to endure. You will have to see a man walk out before you into possible death. That can be tough and scary for some people. Now, I say 'possible' because I still believe that I will be healed. Regardless of what it looks like, believe me, my spirit is still strong." He'd lose the ability to put his pants on. He'd lose the ability to drive. He'd lose the ability to eat solid food. He'd lose the ability to brush his teeth, comb his hair, and sign his name. Through all this, his spirit remained strong. One day, I asked O.J. "How?" How didn't he give up? How'd he find the courage to keep going? He told me that everybody in life has a purpose. When he lost his motor skills -- a new low -- he had an epiphany, and in that epiphany, he realized, "The purpose behind my pain is to bring awareness to an orphan disease that is ravaging tens of thousands of people around the world." He said, through his machine, "Would I have chosen ALS? No, of course not. However, I have been given the opportunity to do my life's greatest work because I have chosen to fight and impact my circle of influence for God's greater good despite my circumstances." And that, he's done. O.J. and his wife launched The Brigance Brigade in 2008, a foundation committed to raising awareness and funds for ALS research. In a little over five years, the foundation has raised more than $1 million dollars. Through his tireless work with the organization, O.J.'s made more of an impact as an ALS advocate than he ever did as an NFL player. Day by day, I'd watch O.J. live his life to the very fullest. I'd have a delayed train from New York and get peeved. O.J. would email me with a good morning message, and I'd recalibrate. I'd be upset with the weather outside. I'd see him smile and forget if it was snowing, hailing or perfectly sunny. I witnessed O.J. give his life to a cause far greater than him -- the ALS community. He chose not to approach life with the fear of death. He chose to approach it with positivity. "I don't ask 'Why'?", he says. "I ask 'What more can I do?" Monday started off as a powerful day for the ALS community. Former New Orleans Saints special teams guru Steve Gleason, a man O.J. describes as his "brother in arms" in the fight for a cure, filled in for Peter King and wrote the scribe's popular "Monday Morning Quarterback" column on Gleason, a fellow ALS sufferer, was funny, enlightening and inspiring. He wrote the column with his eyes, just as O.J. has communicated with me for months. The goodwill and love on Twitter around the column was perfection. I read it start to finish with tears in my eyes. Later in the morning, though, the collective goodwill shifted to disappointment and disgust. A trio of radio personalities in a rival NFC East city aired a skit in which they oddly mocked Gleason. I won't go into the details. No need. I'll leave the hand-wringing to the sports media critics. Rather, I point to O.J. and Steve and their fight. If anything, let this incident put more of a spotlight on them and what they've committed their lives to. Gleason, along with ex-Saints teammate Scott Fujita, climbed Machu Pichu earlier this off-season. O.J. and his wife recently threw out the first pitch at an Orioles game. Both men Skyped with each other in front of Congress on National ALS Advocacy Day in May. Steve's foundation, Team Gleason ( ), was given prominent media spotlight during the NFL Draft when Gleason announced the Saints' second-round pick. The Brigance Brigade ( ) has been a fixture in the news since the start of the Ravens' Super Bowl run. If Monday's media moments -- both high and low -- can do anything, let's hope it raises awareness around ALS and serves as a call to action to find a cure. As for the book, O.J. and I put the finishing touches on it a few weeks ago. It comes out in October. Somehow, some way, we got it done. O.J., of course, never doubted that we would.

Atlanta radio station makes fun of Steve Gleason

It was brought to my attention this morning that the hosts of Mayhem in the A.M. on 790 The Zone in Atlanta decided to make fun of former Saints safety Steve Gleason since he wrote this week’s Monday Morning Quarterback on for Peter King. Gleason can no longer talk since he’s dying from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease...

790 the Zone saga ends with firings, contrition, and sour grapes

As was expected, the hosts of the morning show on 790 the Zone in Atlanta, Mayhem in the AM, have been fired, and we’ve all had the chance to ponder just why in the hell we listen to sports talk radio in the first place. The AJC managed to catch up with one of the former hosts on Monday, and the resulting comments were astonishing. AJC radio and tv reporter Rodney Ho spoke with...

Gleason accepts apology of fired Atlanta DJs

Former New Orleans Saints player, now champion of ALS awareness, Steve Gleason is responding with class and grace to an Atlanta radio station's mockery of him and his battle with ALS. Tuesday afternoon, Gleason posted this message on his charity's Facebook page: "Regarding the DJ skit in Atlanta yesterday. I would like to thank the public for their support. '...

Saints Nation: 790TheZone Mocks Steve Gleason Recap, Including Audio and Transcript

If you're a Saints fan, it's almost humanly impossible that you weren't clued into the story that pretty much blew up twitter yesterday. I thought I'd recap the entire story in case you missed parts or you just have a sordid personality that cares to revisit something as awful as this was. I know that's how I operate. So I was first clued into this on twitter...

The Audio Of 790TheZone Making Fun Of Steve Gleason

((HT: 790TheZone/106.1 The Ticket-NewOrleans)) Here's the two minutes...thanks to chria225 Here's the recap from the front office on the suspensions... "We deeply regret the comments made by Mayhem In The AM this morning on 790 The Zone regarding former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason. 790 The Zone, Lincoln Financial Media, our sponsors and partners...

Atlanta Sports Shock Jocks Make Fun Of Steve Gleason... Allegedly...

Full disclosure on two fronts: The HQ is a member of Team Gleason and supports ALS research... So, this morning on Atlanta morning-drive sports talk radio... 790 The Zone is an ESPN Radio affiliate, but they do their own morning show from 6-10AM... They've done it for years, and at times, it can be funny... but, honestly, we're talking years ago... This morning...

Atlanta radio hosts suspended for mocking Steve Gleason

The hosts of an Atlanta sports radio show were suspended indefinitely on Monday for mocking former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, who has ALS. Gleason, who played for the Saints from 2000-2006, is unable to speak or use his hands, so he uses a computer that allows him to type using his eyes and [...]

Team Gleason Accepts Sports Talk Hosts Apologies

Proving yet again that he and his foundation are better men, Team Gleason released a statement this afternoon stating they've forgiven the DJ's from Atlanta radio station 790 The Zone who made some poor, poor jokes at his expense. Here's the statement from Steve Gleason himself: Regarding the DJ skit in Atlanta yesterday. I would like to thank the public for their...

NEWSLINE: Steve Gleason's column in SI

COUGAR GREAT AND former New Orleans Saints special teams standout Steve Gleason filled in this week for Peter King at Sports Illustrated,

Atlanta Radio Host Fired for Making Fun of Former Saints Player Steve Gleason and ALS

This is one of those stories that makes you wonder how some individuals can be so demented and heartless as to make fun or a person who has been robbed of his ability to speak by a terrible disease. Apparently a trio of Atlanta radio hosts though it would be a good idea to do just that. Nick Cellini, Chris Dimino, and Steak Shapiro did a show for 790 The Zone--I say...

Steve Gleason accepts radio hosts' apologies

Hot News for DB Steve Gleason

Steak Shapiro, insulter of Steve Gleason, explains himself to Brooke Baldwin (video)

From Brooke Baldwin/CNN Newsroom: Steak Shapiro, one of the fired morning show hosts of Atlanta sports radio station 790 the Zone spoke with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin about his firing. Yes, Steak Shapiro is an actual person, not the name of a specially prepared dinner entree. He did acknowledge the poor taste of his joke mocking former New Orleans Saint player Steve Gleason, who has...

Mayhem in the A.M. fired radio host Steak Shapiro said they 'blew it' with ALS mocking segment

Steak Shapiro, former host of "Mayhem in the A.M." on Atlanta's 790 The Zone, sat with CNN to discuss his ugly attack of ALS battler Steve Gleason. "I would have been offended," he now offers up.... Full story at Bob's Blitz ~

GRUDEN TALK: Jon and Herm Discuss Sports Talk Radio With Richard Deitsch

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