Former ESPN sports broadcaster and onetime New England Patriot Craig James was fired by Fox Sports Southwest a few weeks ago for his public declaration of his Christian views in opposition to same-sex marriage.
As unlikely as it may seem, this termination, only days after his hiring, was not based upon any on-the-job infraction, but upon statements he made last year during his bid for a Texas U.S. Senate seat that was ultimately won by Ted Cruz.
Among his statements during that campaign, James said that “People choose to be gay. I think it’s a choice, I do. Same-sex marriage, if someone chooses to do that, that’s done, 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.”
It’s hard to imagine that a major network, such as Fox, would not have known about James’ political and religious stances prior to his hiring. In fact, in an August 30, 2013 announcement from Fox Sports Southwest (that has since been removed), executive producer Mike Anastassiou declared that, “We’re excited to add Craig to the Fox Sports Southwest team. He’s a talented broadcaster who I’ve admired throughout his career. His knowledge of college football and the experience he brings as an analyst will be a tremendous asset to our coverage.”
Apparently, that sentiment was soon lost as a network spokesman recently told a Dallas Morning News reporter that “we just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn’t say those things here.”
James maintains that in his 24 years of broadcasting, he’s always been respectful of his colleagues regardless of their personal beliefs or lifestyles, and that “it is essential in our business to maintain professional relationships with people from a diverse background and have tolerance for those of different beliefs.” He also stated, “I have never discussed my faith while broadcasting, and it has never been an issue until now.”
Recently, in a Breitbart News report, James also said, “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. That is not right, and surely someone made a terrible mistake.”
During his 2012 Senate campaign, James offered his testimony of personal faith in a video posted at YouTube.
James’ legal counsel at the Liberty Institute recently sent a letter to Fox Sports Southwest demanding an ultimatum that he be reinstated within 48 hours, or that they will be met with further legal action.
As a former NFL player and broadcaster for CBS, ESPN, ABC, and now Fox Sports Southwest, Craig James has arguably more than proven himself as an able and professional expert in his field. In spite of this, though, he seems to be one of the latest victims of political correctness and DC agendas that seek to strip American citizens of their First Amendment constitutional rights to freedom of speech, religion, and religious expression.
Photo credit: Bexar Republican (Creative Commons)