Steve Gleason to Times-Picayune fans and staffers: "No White Flags"

When former New Orleans Saints player, current ALS fighter and forever fan favorite Steve Gleason posted this inspirational commentary to a private Facebook group called “Friends of The Times-Picayune Editorial Staff,” it immediately drew scores of “likes” and 40 grateful comments within the small, tight-knit group. Many wrote that Gleason’s take puts the situation of scaled back publication and job cuts at the T-P in perspective while offering hope for those facing major change and challenges.

The Lens editors felt a broader audience would appreciate Gleason’s words, reprinted here with permission from Team Gleason.


To the staff of the New Orleans Times Picayune:

I have not spoken with one person who understands the upcoming 3 day per week publication of the New Orleans Times Picayune. I have heard the dismay of readers and the pleas from both the community and employees as they anticipate reductions this fall.

As someone who’s lost most of his physical abilities over the past twenty months, I can tell you that the anticipation of loss is worse than the actual loss itself.

I am hoping not to be fantastically optimistic with this letter but to be realistic and, possibly, encouraging.

In January, 2011 I was losing the ability to run. At the time, I was so dreading that loss I wasn’t sure what I would do if I could no longer run.

When it finally happened, I was forced to search myself for new avenues of joy. You see, I love to run. Not only that, I was really, really good at it.

But. New joyful avenues have emerged. Writing. Photography. Film.

It has not been easy. I have needed a lot of support. We’ve had to be very creative…

… And the losses continue to mount. Walking. Playing guitar. Typing.

But with each loss we have worked to find a beautiful replacement. To the point where it feels less like loss and more like gain.

None of this seems fair. Why would a profitable, all-star newspaper operation be filleted to a fraction of itself?

News flash: life IS fair. It’s impartial to you, me and others. But (in my opinion) the impartial nature of this life is what makes it so awesome, and every moment spent dwelling on the “injustice” is a moment of loss.

We all have the choice of which role we will play in life. Victim or hero?

For twelve years I’ve enjoyed the coverage by the Times Picayune. I’ve befriended journalists, editors, and staff. Recently, the paper has been a platform for Team Gleason to raise ALS awareness globally. The support we have received has been remarkable. Like most successful companies, at the Times Picayune, the key ingredient has been the people. This is what makes this upcoming transition so difficult. For New Orleanians, the journalists, editors, and staff are not faceless talents. They are our friends. Our family. Our community.

In New Orleans we enjoy our paper and its coverage but we love our people.

Most recently I have been struggling to speak. I wont lie. I have had moments of dread anticipating that loss. I still have much to say. But somewhere deep inside me I believe in seeking avenues that will creatively allow my voice to be heard. Avenues that will transform loss to gain.

Whether you were one of the dozens who lost their jobs or count yourself among those who have been retained at the new company, I would encourage you to be persistent and pursue néw creative avenues to do the same. Seek new ways to share the stories that are so unique to New Orleans with the world.

It will not be easy. But I think it can be awesome.

Headline: awesome ain’t easy.

No White Flags


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  • MM

    “reprinted here with permission from Team Gleason.”

    What a concept. Do you hear me, Sean Pamphilon?

    Inspiring words from Steve, and I continue to wish all the current and soon-to-be-ex staffers at the T-P the very best of luck in finding a new path.

  • Mindy

    Wow. I did not think it possible to think any MORE of Steve Gleason but I do now. Amazing human being.

  • love you Steve !!

    Steve you have a lot of Courage,My Mother Went Through What You’re going Through,She was also very strong through her Ordeal. My Prayers go out to you !I hope all your hard work with ALS has a positive Outcome for yourself and others who are suffering with this horrible disease !!! Geaux Saints forever !!!

  • SB

    Steve, have you ever thought about writing a book? You’re an excellent writer, both in style and content. If you haven’t already, it’s something you should consider. While it may seem an overwhelming task, the truth is, a meaningful story, written by someone with a lot to say, can sometimes write itself almost effortlessly. I once wrote a book in six weeks, spending only 2-3 hours a day writing, five days a week. I never wasted a minute thinking of where the story would go; i just knew when I arrived there what would come next — the story, “writing itself.” Thanks for being an inspiration to us all. SB

  • Karen

    Steve Gleason, I wish I had a small fraction of your courage. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Bro Keith “X” Hudson

    You know, I READ everything I get my hands on, and what I’ve read in this “new” New Orleans, is that the white-dominated press seem to support white criminals more than they support “alleged” black criminals, and if I’m not being too facitious: Isn’t that a form of RACISM! One that white-folks in New Orleans seem to ignore, just because they can! And no so-called educated african-amerikkkan EVER challenges. Why?s The Saints defensive coordinator SNITCHED on the Saints pertinent to the Bounty Scandal, and because he snitched on the “Bless-You Boys” the Who Dat Nation is going all out to support them in an endeavor that’s totally unprofessional & Wrong!!! And all of these LYING a– players are denying this, because as all genuine crooks says: Where’s the evidence: Audio or video, or documentary proof! Well, here’s some proof that the supporters are still in denial about. Team Gleason had in his possession Film showing the actual bounty, and his response was: I didn’t give the film maker
    permission to release this obvious PROOF of the bounty, and not one White-person or Saints fan, CONDEMNED this blatant “misprison of a felony” by Steve Gleason. Why? Because he’s the “wonder-boy” and he’s WHITE!!! Now, once again, the LENS is giving print to someone who’s not worthy, but because he’s white, and labelled inspirational by white-folks, he gets a pass!!! Gleason is a criminal, just like majority of the people that support the Saints, and knowing their GUILTY AS SIN!!! Its
    the same with the NOPD, and white-dominated gang of thugs who gotten away with MURDER/RAPE/DRUG-DEALING, etc, for some long, because NO ONE had proof, and now they’re still committed crimes, because the people like the LENS still support them. Why? Because of the skin pigmentation basically! The Times Picayne newspaper is doing what any business corporation is doing. Making a pitch! Benson been getting away with it for years, and no one question him. And to keep the media out of his business, he (Benson) brought the news station that could expose his dealings. That’s just the nature of the business. And until the LENS start doing some impartial journalism, you will hear constantly from me!!!

  • Steve, dear, a wondeful response and our prayers are with you and the staff of the T-P that have received notice of termination. We always must keep up the best fight we can. Today, in New Orleans, the need to overcome the blight of decay and crime in our city is our focus. We encourage all to do the same, even if it is just posting and making suggestions. At our ages Rhett and I can do little more but we will continue to use our minds, our determination, and our ability, together with friends, to do the best we can. We dare to care, dare to share, and care enough to dare to share.

  • calvin

    Steve’s words are so uplifting. They resonant. Lens thanks for sharing.

  • Priscilla

    This messaage is for Brother Keith: your anger is so overwhelming that I fear for you … not from the whites that you hate but from your own self. To condem Steve Gleason is beyond all reason. Here is a man who is facing up to what the universe, or God or whomever you want to call, has given to him. He is not lashing out or hating. Perhaps there is a message there for you to learn. He is learning to deal with what fate has dealt to him. It would be a good thing for you to learn to do the same. So please take your anger somewhere else. Better yet learn to direct it to some worthy endeavor. Peace.

  • Bro Keith “X” Hudson

    This message is for Prisilla. Why when a BLACK MAN speak the TRUTH, white-folks label it anger? I’m not angry with white-folks, I’m angry with racist white-folks, who’s quick to condemn ANY black accused of committing a crime, but won’t say a word when a white does the exact same thing. I could care less about what Steve Gleason is going through. I want to know why white-folks like yourself and the LENS seems to overlook Steve ommission of the documentary showing Greg putting out Bounties on opposing players. But, that’s not supposed to be discussed
    and the lie Brees told about not knowing about the bounty. Not one white questioned this BOLD FACE LIE!!! Why
    because he’s white, MVP of the SuperBowl champions Saints, and no one should question his integrity, right? I don’t think so. If you want to nickname the TRUTH as anger, that’s your perogative, but I look at things in a reality setting, regardless. Steve Gleason, KNEW about the Bounty and he did what ALL CRIMINALS do, he kept his mouth shut!! How inspirational is that!!!

  • Ah C

    To Bro Keith “X” Hudson:

    “I’m angry with racist white-folks, who’s quick to condemn ANY black accused of committing a crime, but won’t say a word when a white does the exact same thing.”

    Hey Bro, You say you angry? That sounds like HATE. And HATERS, HATE, right?

    Let’s talk about your “quick to condemn racists white folk”.

    What do you expect Whites, Hispanics, Asian, Islamic, Russian, Indian, and everyone else but Blacks to think when most crime by blacks is “BLACK ON BLACK” crime?

    What do you expect folks to think when even the Black Leaders and the Black community say their children have NO ROLE MODELS. And all the Blacks can do is look way way back in the past for someone to rename streets after and rename buildings and schools after?

    What do you expect folks to think when Black women who are educated get on TV and the news and say they have very little chance of finding any black man for a husband and most are either uneducated, in jail, and can’t hold a job.

    What do you expect folks to think when most of all they see are the Hip Hop music videos on ghetto life, gang banging and guns and drugs?

    What do you expect folks to think when many of the black pro athletes who have children out of wedlock and have to sued to pay child support for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 and more children by three or more different mothers?

    What do you expect folks to think when most young black males and boys on the street wears their pants down near their knees even with a belt and OLD BLACK MEN sit in the middle of the street in high crime areas watching cars drive by and talking but then complain about everything?

    In other words, PORCH MONKEYS, YOUNG AND OLD.