DALLAS — The Texas Workforce Commission has launched a religious discrimination investigation into FOX Sports Southwest for allegedly firing a Christian commentator over past remarks regarding the sin of homosexuality.
Craig James and The Liberty Institute had filed a complaint against the network late last year, asserting that James was unlawfully fired because of his Christian faith.
As previously reported, 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.”
“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 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.”
But James believed that his Christian faith was indeed the motive behind his termination and contacted the Liberty Institute about the matter, who filed a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission. This week, the organization filed official discrimination charges against FOX, and launched an official investigation.
“The Texas Workforce Commission issuing a Charge of Discrimination against Fox Sports Southwest and conducting an investigation is a serious step toward holding Fox Sports accountable for violating the law and the religious liberty of Craig James,” Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute Managing Director of Strategic Litigation, said in a written statement.