It's sad and disappointing that we had to spend so much time discussing the juvenile, unfunny and incredibly disrespectful skit an Atlanta radio station made in mockery of Steve Gleason to start this week. And while it's somewhat of a consolation that the hosts have gracefully apologized and accepted full responsibility for their stupidity and that Gleason has issued a statement forgiving the three men for their cruel actions, the only way this debacle can serve something good to the sports media world is by remaining in our memory.
This has to be a lesson now. This has to be something hosts and producers think about every time they try to be edgy. Edge is good, but when everyone is trying to one-up each other in prime TV and radio hours, it's easy to lose sight of what's appropriate and what's not.
In this case, it's hard to believe the three culprits couldn't see how ridiculous their actions were. This was blatantly disgusting, and while you could tell that those involved became at least a little bit aware of how terrible it was mid-skit, none of them took action. When Chris Dimino said, early in the skit, that "I just don't know if I want to play," he should have actually stopped playing. Had he done that, he and his partners would still be employed.
Young "shock jock" journalists have to know that what they're doing now -- without crossing the line -- could be a gateway drug that may lead them to having such astonishingly obscured judgment that they could wind up in the "Mayhem in the AM" range. I'm all for funny, and I can handle mildly inappropriate humor, but when you dabble in that trade you have to know your limits.
This was so preventable, but it's not the first time hosts have been canned for glaringly foul shenanigans, and it won't be the last. It's too late now for Steak Shapiro, Nick Cellini and Chris Dimino, but hopefully their poor judgment can be used as an example for whomever was about to cross that line next.