Former college football television analyst Craig James on Monday filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against Fox Sports that contends he was fired because he had expressed opposition to gay marriage during a failed run for the U.S. Senate.
The former running back for Southern Methodist University and the New England Patriots is seeking at least $100,000 in damages. Fox hired him in August 2013 — months after he lost the Texas Senate primary to Ted Cruz — only to fire him days later.
James filed his suit in Dallas County, where he is seeking a jury trial to hear claims against the network that include breach of contract and violations of state law.
Fox Sports didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment Monday on the lawsuit, and a Dallas attorney for the network did not immediately return a call for comment.
James was a longtime color commentator for ESPN who quit to run for the Senate in 2012. During the campaign, James said he opposed gay marriage and that gay people would one day “have to answer to the Lord for their actions.”
Last year, James filed a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission over his firing. Fox later issued a statement saying James was hired by regional executives and was not “properly vetted.”
James has alleged that a national Fox Sports spokesman told The Dallas Morning News that James was terminated from Fox Sports Southwest for religious beliefs against same-sex marriage.
James is being represented in his lawsuit by the Texas-based Liberty Institute.
Hiram Sasser, deputy chief counsel with the conservative advocacy group, said that when Fox fired James, the network publicly stated that his view on marriage was a reason. Sasser said that James was fired after Sports Illustrated magazine contacted Fox about the hiring in light of James’ comment during a primary debate that he opposed gay marriage.
“It’s pretty rare that a company engages in religious discrimination in the firing of an employee and then issues a statement confirming that’s the reason,” Sasser said.
In its statement last year, Fox called James “a polarizing figure in the college sports community” and said “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.”
Credit to ABC News who originally published this article
John Buccigross: Return Of NHL ‘Reenergized’ Me In ESPN Role
“I’m just grateful that I was able to get reenergized without leaving the company that I’ve worked for so long.”
John Buccigross is probably the most thankful out of anyone that the NHL returned to the ESPN airwaves this season.
Bucci has been at the network for 25 years and was a part of the coverage team the last time ESPN had NHL broadcast rights. He told Awful Announcing that the change after the 2003-04 season really helped change his focus at the network.
“It’s probably a good thing that it went away back in 2004, because I was able to focus on SportsCenter and kind of move up the ladder there, and maybe I never would have if hockey had stayed all these years,” he said. “Maybe that was good. And then I got involved with college hockey, I asked to do play-by-play a couple of years after we lost the NHL, so I’ve been doing college hockey for over 15 years with play-by-play, hoping we would get the NHL back and then I could do NHL play-by-play.”
Now the NHL is back, the Stanley Cup Final will air on ESPN and ABC, and John Buccigross will be a part of it in some fashion. He said having the chance to pick back up where he left off all those years ago gave him a second wind in his career.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic. It couldn’t have come at a better time for me in my career, being at ESPN over 25 years,” he said. “To kind of get reenergized, reinvigorated with your job after being in the same place for 25 years, that’s probably pretty rare. I’m just grateful that I was able to get reenergized without leaving the company that I’ve worked for so long. At this stage of my career, it was just perfect timing.”
ESPN and Turner Sports replaced NBC Sports as the U.S. broadcast rightsholders for the NHL this season.
Mark Sanchez Emerges As Potential #2 NFL Analyst At FOX
“It is believed that Joe Davis will be the play-by-play man to sit opposite either Brees or Sanchez in the booth.”
Football season is 104 days away and FOX is still sorting out its broadcast crews for the upcoming season.
Enter former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez as one of the top candidates being considered for the number two booth at FOX this season.
Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported that if Drew Brees doesn’t end up in the role, Sanchez is next in line. Greg Olsen and Kevin Burkhardt will comprise the top broadcast team for FOX this season.
It is believed that Joe Davis will be the play-by-play man to sit opposite either Brees or Sanchez in the booth. Marchand reported that Sanchez made a great impression on producers in auditions and tests.
Mark Sanchez began his broadcasting career three years ago. After two seasons of covering college football for ESPN, he made the move to FOX last year.
Joe Buck: ESPN Is Letting Us Set Tone For Monday Night Football
“It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”
While Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling football games on Monday nights for ESPN instead of Sunday afternoons for FOX this year, fans shouldn’t expect the broadcasts to be that much different, if at all, than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 years.
Buck was recently a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and said that ESPN knows that he and Aikman have to be comfortable in order for Monday Night Football to be a success.
“I know we are in the honeymoon phase. I’m not dumb. That stuff wears off after a while. They are like ‘however you guys have always done a game, that’s the way we want you to do a game whether it’s with regard to meetings vs. conference calls or when you guys show up, how you like the booth set up. However you want it, we are going to do it your way’ and that’s to their credit. It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”
Buck and Aikman are obviously already very familiar with each other. Buck said that it will be important not to take that for granted or second guess what they already know.
“I think the one thing Troy and I have to avoid is trying to be different than we’ve been. They hired us based on what we’ve done and who we are and how we relate to each other and the way we see a game,” said Buck.