Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones issued an apology Tuesday for using a derogatory term to describe little people when paying tribute to a team executive who recently passed away.
Jones used the term in sharing memories about former Cowboys scouting director Larry Lacewell, a key figure in Dallas’ run of three Super Bowls titles in the 1990s.
Lacewell died in May at age 85.
“Earlier today I made a reference which I understand may have been viewed as offensive. I apologize,” Jones said in a statement Tuesday evening.
Speaking to reporters at the Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, California, Jones said Lacewell was always a popular figure who drew an audience whenever he spoke.
“I’m going to get me somebody, a (M-word), to stand up there with me and dress him up like Lace and think Lace is still out here helping at practice with us,” a smiling Jones said. “But here it is to Lace―really, and I’m serious about that.”
The advocacy group Little People of America calls the term Jones used the “m word,” saying that it should never be used because it’s “considered a derogatory slur.”
“The dwarfism community has voiced that they prefer to be referred to as dwarfs, little people, people of short stature or having dwarfism, or simply, and most preferably, by their given name,” the organization has said.