DALLAS — A former NFL star and ESPN sports commentator that was recently fired from his new position at FOX Sports Southwest says that he may sue his former employees for religious discrimination.
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 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, … 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 the Dallas Morning News. “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.
However, representatives now state 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.”
But James says that be believes his Christian faith was indeed the motive behind his termination.
“I was shocked that my personal religious beliefs were not only the reason for FOX Sports firing me, but I was completely floored when I read stories quoting FOX Sports representatives essentially saying that people of faith are banned from working at FOX Sports,” James told Breitbart News. “That is not right, and surely someone made a terrible mistake.”
He has now retained legal representation from the Liberty Institute, a Christian legal group based in Plano, Texas. On Tuesday, the organization send a letter to FOX demanding answers and James’ reinstatement.
“Craig James believes that he, as a Christian, is called to love everyone regardless of their sexual orientation,” attorney Jeffrey Mateer wrote. “Craig James simply wants to receive the same tolerance for his religious beliefs that he himself practices toward others.”
Mateer told the the network that if it does not respond to concerns, legal proceedings would ensue.
It is not known whether FOX has yet replied to the correspondence.