ESPN Analyst Bill Walton Slams NCAA, National Drug Laws On-Air

By McCarton Ackerman 02/09/15

The former NBA star turned analyst raised a few eyebrows with a rant about weed during a broadcast.

Bill Walton

ESPN analyst Bill Walton blasted NCAA rules regarding marijuana laws during a live broadcast, making him the latest analyst on the network to make eye-raising statements regarding drug use in the sports world.

During last Wednesday’s game between the Washington Huskies and Oregon Ducks, Walton spoke out about the recent removal of Huskies' center Robert Upshaw. A formal statement from the team said he had been let go from the squad due to a violation of team rules, but Upshaw had failed numerous drug tests during his playing career both at Washington and previously at Fresno State.

Walton urged the NCAA to “modernize its rules” regarding drugs and even managed to bring President Barack Obama into the discussion when he went into a tangent on national drug laws.

"You know how I talk every week and complain [about] the NCAA not modernizing the rules? That’s another rule they’ve got to modernize. This whole War on Drugs has been an absolute failure across the board,” said Walton. "We’re looking for Obama to step up and say ‘Why are we punishing people for things that are legal? Why are people languishing in jail for things that are legal?'”

Walton's on-air colleague, Dan Pasch, tried to quell Walton’s rant by stating Upshaw’s violation was not made public and only school officials knew the exact reason he was dismissed.

Check out Walton's rant here:

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.