Marvin Lewis apologizes for use of word “midget”


Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has apologized again for calling Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel a “midget,” this time acknowledging that the word is inappropriate in any setting.

Lewis initially made the comment in a radio interview on Monday night and then apologized to Manziel and the Browns for what some saw as an unnecessary insult toward an opponent. But what Lewis didn’t seem to realize, either in his initial comment or in his apology, is that the term he used is considered offensive to people who have medical conditions causing dwarfism.

On Tuesday, Lewis issued another apology, specifically to little people who may have been offended by what he said.

“I’m aware that my comment on local radio last night was offensive to people of short stature and to their families and friends,” Lewis said. “It was thoughtless on my part to use the word I did, and not excusable, and I greatly regret it. I since have read about this issue on the Little People of America website. I understand it better, and as I have apologized to Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns community, I offer the same to all others who I offended, and I pledge that I will learn from this. I hope that my mistake and the resultant publicity may serve at least to help others not make similar insensitive comments in the future.”

Lewis’s mistake was one of ignorance, not of malice. Many people don’t realize that the term offends people of short stature. It’s to Lewis’s credit that once his mistake was pointed out to him, he sought to make amends.

73 responses to “Marvin Lewis apologizes for use of word “midget”

  1. Marvin’s comments will do Johnny some good. Toughen him up. He’s gonna hear and feel things a whole lot worse at the bottom of the pile.

  2. Good grief – in one sentence he turned all of the Johnny Football haters into those that hope he breaks all NFL records while beating the Bengals.

  3. Bulletin board material for the Browns plus motivation in the intrastate rivalry. Dalton could throw about six interceptions in this one.

  4. See Marvin…you need to learn that you can’t offend anybody in the USA. Someday you’ll learn to never say anything that may be offensive to anybody under any situation.

  5. In Lewis’ defense, he made his original comments while suffering from a concussion caused by the media.

  6. If I had to go around apologizing for all the bad things I say…..I’d be apologizing non-stop. However, Marvin has to be smarter since he had a microphone in his face.

  7. Manziel is the same height as Drew Brees. Is he really saying he wouldn’t worry about Drew Brees because he’s “only” 6 foot? Stupid remark and not just because of his word choice

  8. Unnecessary public apologies are becoming way to common. “Friends” of people with short stature might be offended, my favorite part.

  9. Wow, your last graph totally absolves him and blames ignorance. Really? He had no idea you aren’t supposed to use that word these days? Not saying it’s horrific or anything, but I don’t buy the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer defense on this one.

  10. “Wow, your last graph totally absolves him and blames ignorance. Really? He had no idea you aren’t supposed to use that word these days? Not saying it’s horrific or anything, but I don’t buy the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer defense on this one.”

    This from the fan base that cheered Ray Rice during camp…

  11. “I hope that my mistake and the resultant publicity may serve at least to help others not make similar insensitive comments in the future.”

    As long as Twitter exists, that’s never gonna happen, boss…

  12. The PC police are idiots. Its a name/term, not an insult. Who cares? Its not like he’s going to wake up to a bunch of “little folks” on the sidewalk in front of his house with pitchforks and lanterns.

    Is anyone saying that about Wilson or Brees? They would both shut those pretenders in Cinn. up real quick.

    The Bengals have been terrible as long as anyone can remember. Start covering teams that reside above the .500 mark more often than not.

  13. I’m really bad with the whole “you can say this but you can’t say that thing” so help me out here……it would’ve been okay if he had called him a dwarf, cause that’s a technical term? …….Right?

  14. He should be suspended for this. A derogatory word aimed at another person shouldn’t matter if it’s racial, about your sexual preference, or anything else. If Andy Reed said this about Russell Wilson, it would be on CNN already. Why do we accept a double standard?

  15. Whatever. Next will be that dwarfism is a bad word. Then it will be “small people” is a bad term. It’s just a constant shifting of words because people can’t handle overtly labeling anything. The condition is still the condition. If he had called Manziel a “small person” in referring to a midget, he would have been called out for that. Big freaking deal. When did America become a sensitive 8 year old that this kind of story become an actual media story? What a soft nation.

  16. Good for coach Lewis.

    Life isn’t about being perfect. It’s about doing your best and trying to correct the mistakes you make in the process. At least he was man enough to say he shouldn’t have said it.

  17. It was an innocent and honest mistake, and clearing things up and in a respectful way will likely affect many more people from using that word now, or perhaps other offensive words that we should all consider avoiding.

  18. I can see it now. Four Browns players on Sunday wearing tshirts during warm ups with a pic of Verne Troyer (aka Mini-Me). Their little way of protesting Marvin’s ill-advised words.

  19. Being called a little person or a dwarf would be much more insulting and patronizing to me than midget. Dwarf? What is this, Lord of the Rings?

  20. No need for an apology to Johnny , the look on your face when Little Johnny carves up your defense on Sunday en route to season sweep, of your mighty Ben Gals will be more than enough Marvin the Magnificent.

  21. Oh good god. How ridiculous.

    Sorry. I apologize to those people who are NOT good as that was insensitive of me. I also apologize to those people who might be suffering from ridiculousness.

  22. Here’s a truth, for you. Lewis is a black head coach. He made a mistake by slurring people who are small in stature and he apologized, so it will be forgotten. And rightly so, it should be forgotten, in my opinion.
    Bu had a white coach made a remark about a black QB being a great athlete but not necessarily the sharpest knife in the drawer, he be crucified for it and people would be calling for his job.
    It’s a fact there’s a double standard when it comes to what people can say that often isn’t white over black, it’s the other way around.
    Let’s not forget, this is the same head coach who earlier in the year questioned all the concussion protocol as being a media invention.
    Here’s another one for you. For those of you defending those Rams players and the NBA players for using their platforms to show their support for their cause, what if white players came out with shirts supporting the police? How do you think they’d be perceived? Would the panelists on shows like Around The Horn say it’s their right and applaud them for doing that? Of course not.
    Prejudice is an awful thing. But it works both ways, in spite of what the media almost always says.
    This country will truly be one when everyone drops their agendas and starts realizing that law breaking is always the root cause for everything that happens after that. If people stay out of trouble, you’d have a lot less of these incidents. And 99.9% of cops are good people trying to do the job we hire them to do. How would any one of us feel if we were in their place and had to deal with what they have to deal with? No one ever thinks about that.
    I realize what I’m saying will not be received very well. And PFT might even censor me as they have many times before. But why be afraid of the truth?

  23. I’ve notice a DRAMATIC draw-down in the use of the word Redskins on this website. Yet, in the aftermath of this Marvis Lewis slip, I’ve read the word midget on at least 5 different articles (one of which didn’t even have quotes around it… I think it was the power rankings article).

    Midget is an offensive slur; just as bad as Redskin. Stop using both. Set an example.

    And for the love of God, do NOT simply replace the word midget with the term “m-word”… This isn’t third grade.

  24. I think all the people who have been calling Teddy Bridgewater out for having small hands should apologize also, because all woman are offended by that comment.

  25. Apologies lose all meaning when they’re forced. Unless they come from the heart, they don’t mean jack.

  26. “I was wrong to refer to Manziel as a ‘midget.’ That is a big mistake on my part and I’d like to own up to it. I should have referred to Manziel as a ‘dwarf’.”

    Marvin L.

  27. Watch it ….it’ll be “Sir Dwarf” to you, if the Browns make a sweep of the Cleveland end of the home-n-home series….

  28. “Oh good god. How ridiculous.

    Sorry. I apologize to those people who are NOT good as that was insensitive of me. I also apologize to those people who might be suffering from ridiculousness.”

    You forgot to apologize to people who think they are god.

  29. “You forgot to apologize to people who think they are god.”

    And I forgot to apologize to people who are apologists!!!


  30. John Wayne never apologized and he died from a tumor the size of a bowling ball in his lung. Arggg, indeed!

  31. “I apologize for calling Manziel a midget. What really meant to say is he’s a sawed-off little runt,” Marvin Lewis.

  32. Dr. Lewis already doesn’t recognize concussions as a lingering problem. Now, he doesn’t see the inherent difficulty in being small?
    Seriously, the guy is kind of a blockhead. And he’s a head coach in the NFL.
    It makes you wonder….
    Mainly that someone in that position could say something so stupid where anyone could hear him.

  33. Who cares if he’s not a typical QB height as long as he can play. Can he play? We’ll see now. Lewis basically gave the guy something to prove. There won’t be any jitters… He’ll be focused and out there to win it.

  34. Marvin had to out-Hue, Hue!

    Some coaches intentionally do stupid things to draw attention off the play of the team, so they don’t feel pressured (See Ryan, Rex). I am sure Ronald McDalton, aka Mr Pick-6, will feel no pressure until about 2 minutes before the game is over.

    But, Cincy has historical problems with rookie QBs beating them under Marvin Lewis; He offended Cleveland (giving them locker room material); and Cleveland needs this game to stay competitive in the four-way race to the division title (There likely won’t be a wildcard from the AFC North).

  35. Great society we live in where a simple word like midget is apparently now offensive.

    Won’t be long before every word is deemed offensive or inappropriate by some whiners.

  36. Cincy will lose out the season, collapsing and finishing last in the AFC North (and I am a die hard Bengals fan, I can just see it coming). Lewis handed the Browns this game and they can’t beat Denver or Pittsburgh to close the season. But at least they will end with a 8-7-1 “winning” season.

  37. Now reverse the situation. A White Coach says this about a black player/QB.
    Think there is not a double standard in this country? Think again.
    The only midget here is Lewis’s brain. Haven’t U heard of “if U can’t say something nice about someon, don’t say nothing at all”.

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