Oklahomans Bart Conner, Nadia Comaneci Campaign To End 'R-Word'

Wednesday, August 14th 2013, 6:02 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

Oklahomans Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci are adding their star power to a movement to stop using the "R-word." 

Advocates for those with developmental disabilities say they achieved a huge victory this past year when they were successful on the medical front in changing the term "mental retardation" to "intellectual disability." Now they want the rest of us to do the same.

"I don't think the average citizen realizes when they use the r-word: ‘that's so retarded, don't be such a retard,' they don't realize how hurtful that is to an important population, to me and to many of us in this country," said Conner during an interview at his Norman gym on Wednesday.

Conner and Comaneci's interest in the cause comes from their involvement with the Special Olympics. They are both on the international board of directors.

"We've really become keenly aware of how hurtful people who use the r-word it can be to our population in particular."

The Public Service Announcement for Oklahoma's Developmental Disabilities Council was shot at Conner's Norman gym using students from a special class for autistic children. It's part of a nationwide campaign.

"Think twice before you use the r-word because there is a population out there and families that are hurt by this word that creates a stigma around them. That's not fair."

Watch the PSA.