Bill Walton Derails College Football National Championship Coverage to Talk Cannabis
January 10, 2017
Clemson bested Alabama for the first time since 1905 in a thrilling NCAA college football national championship game, but NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton had something else on his mind during the ESPNU broadcast that was supposed to be covering the title matchup. Inexplicably dressed as Uncle Sam, everyone’s favorite old hippie broadcaster spoke out in support of cannabis in a “that’s so Walton” non-sequitur while sitting next to a befuddled Jay Bilas.
Walton, along with several other ESPN colleagues, was a part of an ESPNU broadcast called ESPN Voices which aired during the college football final. During a commercial break, the program caught him in the middle of an impassioned speech advocating for cannabis.
The former UCLA Bruin standout and NBA legend called for the declassification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug, and for President Barack Obama to grant blanket amnesty to offenders so everyone could “move on to the future.” An off-camera Michelle Beadle can be heard saying, “Get ’em, Bill” during his impromptu monologue.
This is certainly not the first time (nor will it likely be the last time) Walton will advocate for cannabis on air. He previously spoke out on the NCAA’s handling of cannabis during a live basketball broadcast last season. Walton is also a notorious “Deadhead,” having seen the iconic group perform over 800 times in his lifetime. He’s been quoted as saying, “I am the human being that I am today because of the Grateful Dead,” so it’s not much of a stretch to hear that a die-hard Grateful Dead fan is also emphatically pro-cannabis.
Leafly staff writer Gage Peake specializes in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications. Send him news and data tips at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter.