James, who was hired by FOX Sports Southwest on Aug. 30 as an on-air college football analyst for the network's postgame show, worked one game on Aug. 31 before being terminated on Sept. 2.
Apparently, James' support for traditional marriage was a problem for FOX Sports officials. James was a Republican candidate in the 2011 Senate race in Texas, ultimately won by Ted Cruz. During the campaign, James was clear about his views that marriage was designed by God for one man and one woman.
The Dallas Morning News reported Craig's firing and included a statement from an unnamed FOX spokesman: "We just asked ourselves how Craig's statements would play in our human resources department," the spokesman said. "He couldn't say those things here."
James has retained Liberty Institute of Plano, Texas, as his legal counsel.
In a Sept. 24 letter to FOX Sports executives, the Liberty Institute's Jeffrey Mateer argued that when FOX Sports Southwest recruited James for its team, network executives knew of his Senate run and "should have known that he made statements about his faith and his faith's position on marriage."
"The decision to terminate Craig James because of Mr. James's religious beliefs is a severe violation of Mr. James's religious liberty, protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and an affront to all Americans who cherish that bedrock principle of American freedom," Mateer wrote.
Mateer demanded James' reinstatement with the network within 48 hours and threatened legal action if FOX Sports failed to comply.
Baptist Press received no response to an email to four FOX Sports executives seeking comment.
Tim Ellsworth is editor of BP Sports (www.bpsports.net), the sports website of Baptist Press. He also is director of media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.
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