DALLAS — A respected sports commentator and former football star has filed suit against his former employer over his belief that he was wrongfully fired over his past remarks regarding the sin of homosexuality.
As previously reported, Craig James played for the New England Patriots in the 1980′s and later became a sportscaster for ESPN. In 2011, he decided to run for the U.S. Senate, and participated in a number of debates, including the 2012 event that he believes cost him his job.
During the debate, Craig was asked about his views on homosexuality and same-sex “marriage.” As a Christian, he responded that he could not support unBiblical behavior, and neither should any other civil leader.
“I think that this country, our moral fiber is sliding down a slope that is going to be hard to stop if we don’t stand up–the leaders who don’t go ride in gay parades,” he said. “I can assure you, I will never ride in a gay parade. Our kids out there…People need to see examples. I’m a guy who believes in [the union of] a man and a woman, … Adam and Eve, and what the Bible says.”
Craig was then asked if he believes men and women choose to be homosexual.
“I think it’s a choice; I do,” he replied. “Same-sex marriage, if someone chooses to do that, that’s them. And God’s going to judge each one of us in this room for our actions. And in that case right there, they’re going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions.”
In 2013, just days after being hired as a commentator, James’ position was terminated. He believed that it was the result of his past remarks about homosexuality.
“We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department,” Lou D’Ermilio, Fox Sports Southwest senior vice president of communications, told the Dallas Morning News. “He couldn’t say those things here.”
But other representatives asserted days later that the video footage was not the reason Craig was let go after only a week on the job.
“At Fox Sports we respect all points of view, and despite reports to the contrary, the decision to no longer use Craig James in our college football coverage was simply because he was not a good fit at Fox Sports,” the network told reporters. “Mr. James, while both experienced and knowledgeable, is a polarizing figure in the college sports community. Regrettably, the decision to use him was not properly vetted, and as a result he will no longer provide commentary on Fox Sports Southwest’s college football coverage.”
James, with the assistance of the Texas-based Liberty Institute, then filed a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission. As the matter has not yet been resolved, on Monday, James filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Fox Sports Southwest.
“I will not let Fox Sports trample my religious liberty,” he said in a statement. “Many people have lost their jobs because of their faith. Sadly, countless are afraid to let their bosses know they even have a faith.”
Fox Sports Southwest has not yet commented on the lawsuit.