A Christian sportscaster has filed suit against a Fox Sports network because he was fired over his support for traditional marriage. Craig James
is taking Fox Sports Southwest to court over his dismissal, alleging he is a
victim of religious discrimination.
James, who played football in college and in the National Football League, was hired on August 30th to be a college football analyst for Fox Sports Southwest's postgame programming. At the time of his hiring, Fox Sports executive producer Mike Anastassiou said: "Craig's a talented broadcaster who I've admired throughout his career. His knowledge of college football and the experience he brings will be a tremendous asset to our coverage."
Two days later, James was fired by the network. Fox officials said they had become aware of his views on the subject of same-sex "marriage." During an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate from Texas in 2012, James expressed his belief that the definition of marriage
should be maintained as the union of one man and one woman.
Fox Sports officials did a complete about-face after gay rights activists attacked James because of his support for the institution of marriage. In an official statement, the network now said James was "a polarizing figure in the college sports community" and was "not a good fit for Fox Sports."
James says he feels he has no choice but to take a stand for the religious freedom of sports broadcasters. "I was shocked that my personal religious beliefs were 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 says he has never injected politics into his work as a sports analyst during his years working for ESPN and CBS Sports. "I have worked in broadcasting for 24 years and have always treated my colleagues with respect and dignity regardless of their background or personal beliefs. I have never discussed my faith while broadcasting and it has never been an issue until now."
James, a former running back who played for Southern Methodist University and the New England Patriots, says he is not taking this episode of religious discrimination sitting down. "If Fox Sports has learned anything from me, it's that I'm not going to take a punch to the face and give up. I'm going to see justice through on this."
James' lawsuit has been filed in Collin County, northeast of Dallas. It alleges religious bias in employment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. James is represented by the Liberty Institute. Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for the Liberty Institute, says that Fox Sports needs to be held accountable for its discriminatory actions.
"Fox Sports is just trying to ride this thing out and hope it all goes away," Sasser says. "But you can't go around torching people's reputations based on religious bigotry, and then hope that somehow the next news cycle wipes it out of people's mind."
Craig James isn't the first person in the sports broadcasting business to fall victim to political correctness. Two years ago, one of Canada's most prominent sportscasters was fired because of his views in defense of traditional marriage. Damian Goddard
had sent out a personal message on Twitter expressing support for a hockey agent who was under fire for being critical of efforts to redefine marriage. Within hours of his tweet, Goddard was released from his on-air position by Rogers Sportsnet. Company officials also said that Goddard was "not the right fit for our organization."
Earlier this year ESPN sports commentator Chris Broussard
came under harsh attack from homosexual activists after he expressed disagreement with media praise for NBA player Jason Collins' declaration of homosexuality. Brossard said: "I'm a Christian. I don't agree with homosexuality. I think it's a sin, as I think all sex outside of marriage between a man and woman is."
"Gay rights" groups mounted a virulent campaign to have Broussard fired. While ESPN expressed "regret" over Broussard's remarks, they chose to retain him as a basketball analyst. ESPN President John Skipper acknowledged that other ESPN sports personalities had shared personal viewpoints praising Collins' sexual lifestyle.
Craig James says he hopes his experience is a "wake-up call" to Christians in the business world. "I do think we
are at a fork in the road in this country and we have got to be heard...Evil prevails when good people do nothing. You can't shine light on darkness unless the light shows up, and I am prepared to take the arrows."
James says he believes he must be "bold and passionate" regardless of the outcome. "I know that the Lord has placed this in my life for a reason. My goal in life remains that when I meet my Maker, he says: 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.' I don't want to let him down in this episode."
You can sign a petition on the Family Research Council website calling on Fox Sports to reinstate Craig James by using this link:Reinstate Craig James