Craig James, the Fox Sports commentator fired for comments he made about homosexual civil unions during an unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate bid, came out swinging against his former employer this week, threatening legal action and calling his termination “a terrible mistake.”
“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 in an interview published Monday. “That is not right and surely someone made a terrible mistake.”
Fox Sports Southwest hired James, a former pro running back for the New England Patriots and college star at Southern Methodist University, in late August as a college football analyst. When a video of him objecting to homosexual civil unions during a candidates’ debate in Texas surfaced, Fox Sports terminated his contract. In the video, James referred to homosexuality as “a choice,” adding that those who engage in homosexuality will “have to answer to the Lord for their actions.” James made just one appearance for the sports network.
According to The Dallas Morning News, a Fox Sports spokesperson explained, “We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn’t say those things here.”
James’ attorneys with the Liberty Institute have sent a letter to Fox Sports, demanding the company rehire James or face legal action. Liberty Institute general counsel Jeff Mateer wrote that the “decision to terminate Craig James because of Mr. James’ religious beliefs is a severe violation” of his religious liberties.
“I believe it is essential in our business to maintain professional relationships with people from a diverse background and have tolerance for those of different beliefs,” James told Breitbart. “I have never discussed my faith while broadcasting and it has never been an issue until now.”
On Wednesday, Fox Sports released a statement contradicting the claim of religious discrimination. According to the network, the company fired James “simply because he was not a good fit at Fox Sports.” The statement added, “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.”