ESPN Broadcast Gets Awkward After Announcer Denies Evolution

Last year saw an interesting experiment occur when Science Guy Bill Nye and Creationist Museum curator Ken Ham took on.the “evolution vs. creationism” debate on a national stage. This year has already seen an even more uncomfortable back-and-forth on the controversial subject, this time between ex-NBA star Bill Walton and sportscaster Dave Pasch. I thought sporting events were where everyone agreed about everything!

During Thursday night’s college basketball game between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Arizona Wildcats, Walton took a moment to present his fellow commentators with gifts, and he gave Pasch a copy of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, with the note that he wanted to make sure Pasch believed in evolution. To which Pasch replied…

I don’t.”

To his credit, Pasch handled it well, telling Walton that he had a book that “counters The Origin of Species” to bring in to the next game. But that return jab was met with absolute silence, something else I have to assume doesn’t happen often in a sports broadcast. Check out the entire awkward exchange below.

Pasch also gets another joke in before the commercial, saying they were going to have a talk about Darwin’s book and irreducible complexity – an intelligent design belief – while eating cake. Power to Bilas, who got his own Jerry Garcia book, for bringing up how good Cake the band is, because I’d much rather hear these guys get aggravated over music choices than anything involving who or what is responsible for me being here right now, writing this.

Walton and Pasch are no strangers to one another, which makes Walton’s intentions here rather suspect, since he was clearly already familiar with Pasch's beliefs. Personal beliefs and assertions aside, it seems like kind of a dick move to vaguely rub someone else’s mindset in the dirt on national TV. Not that Pasch was ashamed to talk about it or anything. All in all, it was just an amusingly unnecessary part of the process.

I’d love to know how many sports contests in the past have ever taken an immediate tonal dive due to religious beliefs getting brought up. It doesn’t seem the likeliest of incidents to happen while nearby cheerleaders are pumping up the crowd. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to pore over a bunch of footage to try and see if Pat Summerall ever asked John Madden if he wanted to take a ride on the Hale-Bopp comet.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.