Oxnard, California – Cowboys in Dallas Owner Jerry Jones issued a statement of apology Tuesday noon.
“Earlier today I made a signal that I understand may have been offensive,” he said in a statement. “I apologize.”
Jones was praising former Cowboy Scout manager Larry Lasswell when he used what Little People of America considers a derogatory slur “created as a sign used to refer to people of short stature who were on public display for curiosity and sport,” the year-old organization said in a publicly published article. 2015 titled “LPA Issues Statement to Repeal the ‘m’ Word.”
Jones’ comment came amid other serious remarks to commemorate the more than 10 former Cowboys players, coaches, employees and partners who recently passed away. The Cowboys owner/general mentioned traveling to Arkansas in June to attend the Lakewell Life Celebration Service.
“Steven and I went to Jonesboro and were part of a lot of our staff, certainly the Scouts, who went and made a big memorial to Ace,” Jones said. “The court is not held here.”
Jones then used the slander to say he wanted someone of shorter stature “to stand there with me and dress him up like lace. Believing that not still here helps look at practice with us. You know, we all need our tools.”
Jones indicated with his hand the height of a person shorter when using the term Merriam-Webster describes as “sometimes offensive” to describe someone who is very small or unusually small. Lerner’s Oxford Dictionaries calls the term “prohibited, offensive” before defining “an offensive word for a person who is very short because of a medical condition of dwarfism.” Dictionary.com describes it as the term “oldest usage: disparagement and offensive”.
“Whether the word user’s intent is used to bully and insult, or as a synonym for a small word, our collective experience shows us that language has the potential to cause lasting damage to one’s self-esteem and identity,” says People in America. “The dwarf community has expressed a preference to refer to dwarves, little people, people of short or dwarf stature, or simply, better, by the name given to them.”
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Lakewell served as Director of Scouting for the Cowboys from 1991-2004 and continued to visit the organization for more than a decade after that. The Cowboys won three Super Bowls in their first five years. Prior to working in the NFL, Lacewell enjoyed a decorated college football coaching career, including stints as defensive coordinator for Oklahoma and Tennessee, as well as head coach at Arkansas State and director of athletics. Arkansas State won consecutive championships under him, which led to Lacewell’s induction into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.
Lasswell passed away on May 17 at the age of 85. Jerry Jones and several Cowboys employees traveled to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to celebrate his life in Arkansas on June 17.
Tuesday, with lengthy notes about his absence, Jones seemed intent on honoring him once again.
Jones concluded his tribute, “Here it isn’t.” “Really. I’m serious about it.”
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jerry Jones apologizes for using the term ‘attack’