Former NFL player Craig James takes legal action after Fox firing

(Photo: REUTERS / Mike Stone)Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (C) carries the ball as SMU linebacker John Bordano is near and wide receiver Derel Walker blocks in the first half of their NCAA football game at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas September 21, 2013. Craig James was to have given commentaries on similar matches until his contract was abruptly ended.

FOX Sports Southwest hired Former NFL running-back Craig James as an on-air football analyst.

That was after he made just one broadcast.

"A sports broadcaster, 24 years in the business, is in a battle for his religious liberty and that of his fellow citizens.

"He is former NFL and Southern Methodist University star Craig James," wrote Penna Dexter of the Baptist Press on, the official website of the Biblical Recorder on Thursday.

Allegations are that he only worked for the company for a couple of days and then after it became known he had made earlier statement linking his attitude on same sex marriage to his beliefs, he was shown the door.

"One day the higher-ups at FOX admired Craig James. The next day they didn't, terminating him after only one show and not for anything he did on the job. He was fired for holding the traditional Christian belief that marriage is the union between one man and one woman," commented Dexter on

James is astonished and now he is taking legal action saying he was fired for his beliefs.

"James ran for Senate in his home state of Texas, and he garnered just 3.6 percent of the vote in the 2012 Republican primary, who is publicly against same-sex marriage," reported.

During the primary debate in April 2012, James was asked about same-sex marriage.

"People choose to be gay, 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," James told Breitbart News.

"Though his first day on the job - August 31 - went well, FSSW [FOX Sports Southwest] General Manager Jon Heidtke called James on Sept. 1 to inform him he had been fired.

"According to Breitbart, Heidtke - who also hired James - said a higher-up in the network had been made aware of his comments about same-sex marriage during James' unsuccessful 2012 run for the Senate," ESPN stated.

"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

The rumor circulating is that James was fired on behalf of his beliefs;

Jon Heidtke confirmed Fox Sports fired him because of the comments made about same-sex marriage during his run for the Senate, while a different source at Fox Sports contradicts Heidtke statement.

"At Fox Sports we respect all points of view, and despite reports to the contrary, the decision to no longer use Craig James in our college football coverage was simply because he was not a good fit for Fox Sports," reads a statement regarding James' dismissal.

"Mr. James, while both experienced and knowledgeable, is a polarizing figure in the college sports community," the statement says. "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."

James told Breitbart News he has always treated his colleagues with respect, regardless of their beliefs.

"I have worked in broadcasting for 24 years and have always treated my colleagues with respect and dignity regardless of their background or personal beliefs.

"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. I have never discussed my faith while broadcasting and it has never been an issue until now."

James' legal team told the Washington Times that he has a solid case for a discrimination suit, saying the firing violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, stated.

"The actions have also led to the breach of Craig James' contract and the impingement of his career," Liberty Institute general council told Fox Sports in a letter sent Tuesday.

"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," Liberty stated.

James has confirmed he is pursuing legal action against Fox Sports Southwest.

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