Professor Abrams: Youth Sports Programs Should End Using the Name “Midgets”

For a generation and more, various youth sports programs in the United States and Canada have used the name “Midgets” to identify some age divisions or individual teams. In his latest column on, “Youth Sports Organizations Should Retire the Name ‘Midgets’,” Professor Doug Abrams writes that, “The time has come to retire the name ‘Midgets’ from national, state or provincial, and local youth sports. The name enjoys no enduring loyalty from players or fans, and no inherent relationship to the rules or regulations of any sport. The hurt inflicted on adults and children with dwarfism can run deep, however, a legacy dating at least from billboards and handbills that routinely advertised ‘midgets’ as star attractions of circus freak shows.”

After describing how Congress has recently amended federal statutes to replace outdated names that are disfavored today, Professor Abrams concludes: “Times change, and names matter. . . . A youth sports organization emerges stronger and more inclusive when it demonstrates empathy and respect for the dignity of a vulnerable group, some of whose children may seek to enroll and play without risking especial ridicule.”