DALLAS — After only a week on the job, a former NFL star and ESPN commentator was fired from his new position at FOX Sports Southwest this week after video footage surfaced of comments he made last year expressing that homosexuals will have to “answer to the Lord for their actions.”
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 recently 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, [and] the greatest government is occurring in a home at night between a husband and wife, 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.”
“We should not give benefits to those civil unions,” James continued. “We have to stay strong on this. This is important, man. I’ll tell you what, we have a fiscal issue in this country, [but] we also have a moral issue in this country, and as Christians, we’ve got to stand up.”
His response then drew applause from the crowd, but not so much when FOX officials saw the footage.
“We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department,” an unnamed FOX representative told reporters. “He couldn’t say those things here.”
“Craig James will not be making any further appearances on FOX Sports Southwest’s football coverage this season,” they advised.
Reaction to James’ firing has largely been negative.
“How sad that these sports networks claiming they are about diversity and openness completely shun the conservative or Christian view. This is absolutely wrong and spits in the face of what you claim to be,” one commenter wrote. “[FOX is] not open-minded or accepting of other’s opinions or beliefs, which makes you the hypocrite. The sad thing is that many of Mr. James’ fellow announcers feel as he and the majority of America does, but are not brave enough to stand for what’s right for fear of retribution or losing their job as Craig did.”
“Shame on you FOX Sports,” they said. “God bless you, Mr. James. It’s good to see someone stand for their beliefs.”