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.