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Bill Walton facing backlash for ‘deplorable and inexcusable’ use of derogatory term against dwarves

ESPN college basketball analyst Bill Walton has become well known for his colorful commentary, but some think he went too far Thursday night.

During halftime of Arizona State’s 77-72 win over USC, Walton used the term “midget” twice when discussing the in-game host in the arena and his broadcast partner.

“He does not need a little chair, because he is a giant in a world of shriveling midgets. And speaking of shriveling midgets, what was your name again?” he asked play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch.

“What’s wrong with you,” Pasch replied, later adding he wasn’t sure “what you consumed at halftime.”

The Little People of America, a nonprofit organization “that provides support and information to people of short stature and their families,” caught wind of Walton’s language and was not happy with what it heard.

Sportscaster and former NBA player Bill Walton attends a game between the Washington Huskies and USC Trojans during the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals at T-Mobile Arena March 10, 2022, in Las Vegas.

“Those who use the term midget or any terminology that further stigmatizes people born with dwarfism are asked to educate themselves to eradicate this word,” the organization said in a statement to TMZ Sports, adding that it was “deplorable and inexcusable.”

The organization added it wants the former NBA player to apologize and not use the word again. It also challenged Pasch to “speak up.”

“Little People of America is asking Bill Walton to issue an apology and vow to use appropriate terminology rooted in respect and dignity going forward,” the organization said. “We hope that in the future Dave Pasch will speak up against disparaging language in solidarity with our organization fighting for disability equity and justice.”

Sportscaster and former NBA player Bill Walton, left, and sportscaster Dave Pasch pose before broadcasting the championship game of the Pac-12 tournament between the Arizona Wildcats and the Oregon Ducks at T-Mobile Arena March 11, 2017, in Las Vegas.

Walton has been calling Pac-12 games for ESPN since 2012. He is scheduled to call Friday night’s Pac-12 semifinal game between Arizona and Arizona State on ESPN.

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