Fox Sports fired college football analyst Craig James last Monday after a video surfaced in which he said he opposed homosexual civil unions. James, a former pro running back for the New England Patriots, made the comments at a debate in Texas during his unsuccessful run in 2012 for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Ted Cruz.
In the video (see below, beginning at the 3:52 mark), James, in response to a question about whether benefits should be extended to those in same-sex civil unions, refers to homosexuality as “a choice,” adding that those who engage in homosexuality will “have to answer to the Lord for their actions.” He added, “We should not give benefits to those civil unions. … It should not occur. We have to stay strong on this. This is important. … We have a fiscal issue in this country but we also have a moral issue in this country, and as Christians, we need to stand up.”
When asked for comment, a Fox Sports spokesperson told The Dallas Morning News, “We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn’t say those things here.” According to Sports Illustrated, the highest levels of management at Fox Sports had not thoroughly reviewed the decision to hire James.
When James joined Fox Sports Southwest in late August, Mike Anastassiou, the senior executive producer for that Fox Sports regional network, spoke highly of the 52-year-old. “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.”
A star player for Southern Methodist University, James helped the Mustangs win the Southwest Conference championship in 1981 and 1982. After a couple of years in the United States Football League, he played five seasons for the Patriots and then became a sports analyst for CBS, ABC, and ESPN. James made his only appearance for Fox Sports Southwest on Aug. 31.
James is not the first sports broadcaster to come under fire this year for expressing the belief that homosexuality is a sin. In April, ESPN criticized its analyst, Chris Broussard, and apologized to viewers for his comments calling homosexuality a sin. But ESPN did not fire Broussard.