Texas Commission Investigates Fox Sports Over Firing of Christian Commentator

By:  Dave Bohon
03/11/2014
       
Texas Commission Investigates Fox Sports Over Firing of Christian Commentator

A Texas state employment commission has taken up a religious discrimination charge against Fox Sports for its 2013 firing of commentator Craig James over comments he made about homosexuality and same-sex "marriage" a year earlier during his U.S. Senate run.

In a March 6 release, Liberty Institute, the Texas legal advocacy group that is representing James in his suit against Fox, reported that the Texas Workforce Commission has accepted its discrimination charge against Fox Sports Southwest for firing James, a well-known college football analyst, over his religious beliefs about marriage.

Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser said that the move by the commission “is a serious step toward holding Fox Sports accountable for violating the law and the religious liberty of Craig James.”

In August 2013, Fox Sports Southwest introduced James on the air as its new college football analyst. But after just one appearance on a post-game show he co-hosted with Fox's Erin Hartigan and former NFL quarterback Tony Banks, James was unceremoniously fired after comments he made during a 2012 debate for the Texas U.S. Senate primary were published in a news report.

Asked during the debate about his views on homosexuality and same-sex "marriage," James explained that as a Christian he could not support unbiblical behavior. James said he believed that America's “moral fiber is sliding down a slope that is going to be hard to stop if we don’t stand up.” He emphasized that he was “a guy who believes in [marriage between] a man and a woman, [and] the greatest government is occurring in a home at night between a husband and wife, Adam and Eve, and what the Bible says.”

As for same-sex "marriage," James said that “if someone chooses to do that, that’s them. 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.” He added that “we should not give benefits to those in civil unions. 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’ve got to stand up.”

As soon as James' comments came to light, he disappeared from the Fox show, with the network tersely announcing that he would “not be making any further appearances on Fox Sports Southwest’s football coverage this season.” When queried about the quick departure, a spokesman for Fox Sports explained: “We just asked ourselves how James’ statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn’t say those things here.”

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Photo of Craig James: AP Images

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