Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is in hot water for using the word “midget” in a joke he made while commenting on the death of Larry Lacewell, the Cowboys’ longtime Director of College and Pro Scouting who died at the age of 85 in May.
“Lace held court out here,” Jones said while at the Cowboys training camp earlier this week. “I’m going to get me somebody, a midget, to stand up with me and dress him up like Lace and think Lace is still out here helping us. Look at the practice with us.”
Less than 24 hours into Cowboys training camp and Jerry Jones has to apologize for being offensive pic.twitter.com/Cejgnk5Y9Z
— Crossing Broad (@CrossingBroad) July 27, 2022
Well, that joke didn’t go over well when the Little People of America (LPA), the world’s largest organization advocating for the support of individuals living with dwarfism, heard about it. The LPA released an official statement deriding Jones’ use of the word “midget” and also demanded that he issue a public apology.
“Midget is a term that has widely been known to be derogatory for years and should be common knowledge to anyone in the public arena, such as Jerry Jones,” said the LPA. “Ignorance at this point is simply not an excuse. Any use of this disparaging slur along with suggestions or insinuations that our stature exists for amusement is deplorable and inexcusable.”
Their statement continued, “The millions of individuals with dwarfism around the globe already face unfair disadvantages in their daily life due to their disability including discrimination, harassment, and assault. Little People of America, the world’s oldest and largest support organization for individuals with dwarfism, is continually disappointed when those in positions of power, who have a wide influence within the general population, continue to perpetuate harmful stereotypes.”
“Those who use the term midget or any terminology that further stigmatizes people born with dwarfism are asked to educate themselves to eradicate this word. Little People of America is asking Jerry Jones to issue an apology and vow to use appropriate terminology rooted in respect and dignity going forward.”
Pressure to apologize eventually got to the 79-year old owner, who issued an apology to the LPA. Jones said, “Earlier today I made a reference which I understand may have been viewed as offensive. I apologize.”
This isn’t the first time a public sports figure has said something to draw the ire of the dwarf community. Tony Grossi, a former Cleveland based radio host was suspended by ESPN radio for calling former Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield “a f**king midget.”
Do you think the word “midget” is truly offensive? Should Jones have apologized for making a joke?