- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Craig James, the fired Fox Sports Southwest broadcaster, said that it’s unconscionable he was let go for his religious views and that the network will either rehire him or face a civil rights lawsuit.

“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,” Mr. James told Breitbart News. “That is not right and surely someone made a terrible mistake.”

Mr. James, a former NFL running back who was a broadcaster for ESPN and CBS, was hired Aug. 30 to join the studio analysis team for “Fox College Saturday.” At the time of the hire, Mike Anastassiou, the show’s executive producer, called him a “talented broadcaster” with massive “knowledge of college football.”

Just days later, however, Mr. James was fired after statements he made last year during his failed Senate bid in Texas about his religious views on marriage resurfaced.

“People choose to be gay,” he said during an April 2012 campaign appearance. “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.”

A Fox Sports Southwest spokesman 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.”

But Mr. James’ legal team claims he has a solid case of discrimination. In a letter sent to Fox Sports on Tuesday, Liberty Institute’s general counsel Jeff Mateer wrote that the “decision to terminate Craig James because of Mr. James’ religious beliefs is a severe violation” of his liberties, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Mr. Mateer pointed out that Fox actually solicited Mr. James for the position, knowing full well his political background.

“The actions have also led to the breach of Craig James’ contract and the impugnment of his career,” the letter states. “We demand the immediate reinstatement [of] Mr. James to the on-air college football analyst position. If you refuse to reinstate Mr. James, millions of Americans will be left with the impression that you do not respect religious liberty and Liberty Institute will be forced to pursue subsequent legal options.”


• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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