Dallas Cowboys owner under fire for using derogatory term for little people

Dallas Cowboys owner under fire for using derogatory term for little people
NFL exec used slur during joke at press briefing

The owner of the Dallas Cowboys has apologised for using a slur for little people.

The comments at issue came from Jerry Jones, 79, who made a joke in reference to recently deceased Cowboys executive Larry Lacewell, during a press conference on Tuesday during the first day of the NFL team’s training camp in Southern California.

“I’m going to get me somebody, a m****t, to stand up there with me, and dress him up like Lace, and think Lace is still out here helping at practice with us,” Mr Jones said.

“We all need our props and the memory that goes with it.”

The remark prompted some laughter from the assembled reporters at the team’s Oxnard, California, facility.

But according to Little People of America (LPA), an advocacy group, the term “m****t” is a slur that has no place in the public discourse.

“M****t 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,” the group told TMZ Sports in a statement. “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.

“Those who use the term m****t or any terminology that further stigmatises people born with dwarfism are asked to educate themselves to eradicate this word,” the organisation added. “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.”

The billionaire Cowboys owner later apologised.

“Earlier today I made a reference which I understand may have been viewed as offensive. I apologise,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

In 2015, LPA began rallying to abolish the “M-word,” a term that it said “was never coined as the official term to identify people with dwarfism but was created as a label used to refer to people of short stature who were on public display for curiosity and sport.