Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Sportscaster Sues Fox Sports Claiming Religious Discrimination

Yesterday former NFL player and sportscaster Craig James filed suit in a Texas state court against Fox Sports and various of its affiliates claiming religious discrimination in violation of the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act and breach of contract.  The complaint (redacted full text) in James v. Fox Sports, Inc., (TX Dist. Ct., filed 8/3/2015), claims that James' firing in September 2013, just days after he was hired by Fox, was "due to a short Christianity-focused statement" opposing same-sex marriage on Biblical grounds that he made during a political debate when he ran unsuccessfully for United States Senate some 18 months earlier. Liberty Institute has more information on the case along with links to depositions, the demand letter and media coverage.  According to The Wrap yesterday, Fox Sports issued a statement saying in part:
... 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.
James, in 2009 while at ESPN, was involved in a controversy stemming from his comments about the Texas Tech coach Mike Leach's treatment of James' son. (Background.) James resigned from ESPN in Dec. 2011 to run for the U.S. Senate. [This paragraph has been corrected. An earlier more cryptic version gave an incorrect impression.]