“We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department,” Lou D’Ermilio, Fox Sports Southwest’s senior vice president of communications, said at the time. “He couldn’t say those things here.”
During a Republican candidates’ debate in February 2012, James said being gay is a choice and that gay people would have to answer to God for their actions.
“I think right now in this country, our moral fiber is sliding down a slope that is going to be hard to stop if we don’t stand up with leaders who don’t go ride in gay parades,” James said during the debate, referring to another candidate, former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, who twice had marched in the city’s gay-pride parade.
James finished a distant fourth in the Republican primary, garnering just 3.6 percent of the vote.
In his lawsuit, James is asking for at least $100,000 and alleges that he “lost friends, business relationships, and numerous business opportunities as a result of Fox Sports’ actions.” James also says that no television network will hire him after his short tenure at Fox Sports Southwest.
“This case is much bigger than me,” James said in a prepared statement, via the Dallas Morning News. “It affects every person who holds religious beliefs. I will not let Fox Sports trample my religious liberty. Today, many people have lost their jobs because of their faith. Sadly, countless are afraid to let their bosses know they even have a faith. This is America, and I intend to make sure Fox Sports knows they aren’t above the law.”
Fox Sports issued a response to the lawsuit, again via the Dallas Morning News:
Craig James is a polarizing figure in the college sports community and the decision not to use him in our college football coverage was based on the perception that he abused a previous on-air position to further a personal agenda. The decision had nothing to do with Mr. James’ religious beliefs and we did not discriminate against Mr. James in any way. The allegations are baseless and we will vigorously defend ourselves against them.
James had resigned from his longtime role as a college football analyst for ESPN to enter the Senate race. While at ESPN, he alleged that former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach had mistreated his son, a Red Raiders player, after he had suffered a concussion. The allegations led Texas Tech to fire Leach, who later sued James and others for defamation in a lawsuit that ultimately was dismissed.
Here’s a copy of James’s lawsuit against Fox Sports, filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas.