Craig James used to play for the New England Patriots – he was a Pro-Bowler in 1985 – and had been hired by Fox Sports to call college football games. James worked at ESPN doing that same thing before he quit that job to run for state senate in Texas. Having come in fourth in that race, James was hired by Fox Sports… and let go a week later. Why? According to Fox Sports, it was because James made some ugly anti-gay comments during his senatorial campaign that, believe it or not, didn’t sit well with the network. At the time of James’ firing, a Fox Sports spokesman told the Dallas Morning News:
“We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn’t say those things here.”
A sensible person would probably accept responsibility for what he said and bear the consequences. But not Craig James. No, to Mr. James the fault lies with Fox Sports and their “religious discrimination.” Craig James believes this so vehemently that he is suing the network for firing him illegally. He really should have done a bit more research before he hired a lawyer, as he makes a claim that is far off base:
“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. That is not right and surely someone made a terrible mistake.”
Yep. And that person was Craig James. Because Fox Sports said nothing of the kind, as you can see from what their spokesman told the Dallas Morning News. Fox never said that people of faith could not work at their network, they stated very clearly that the comments James made wouldn’t be tolerated by their HR department. Fox is adding to that previous statement that James’ initial hiring wasn’t “properly vetted” and that he was polarizing viewers.
When will these religious bigots get it through their thick heads that giving voice to their prejudice is not simply an issue of free speech? Especially when it involves a private company like Fox Sports. These zealots mistakenly hold to the idea that they can say whatever they like anytime and anyplace they want. And that, if they are called out for it, their religious beliefs are being attacked. We’ve got news for you poor, put-upon fanatics: it is not persecution just because you are being held responsible for what you say. We don’t care if you believe that gay people will go to hell – that’s your opinion and you are welcome to it. But, when your bigoted remarks impact others, as in the case of Fox Sports and Craig James, there will be consequences.
Like any corporation, Fox Sports is protecting itself; its ratings and its bottom line. Isn’t that what corporations are supposed to do? Isn’t that why the right worships them (instead of the one they claim to worship) and does their bidding? Oh, but I guess that’s only if their prejudices are echoed by the corporations. We’ve seen it over and over; corporations that display the same bigotry as the right are lionized while ones that espouse anything different are demonized. Just look at Chik-Fil-A vs. Starbucks.
So yeah, good luck with that lawsuit, Mr. James. I am certain that it will not end in your favor. Maybe you should make a decision between sports casting and politics because pandering to serve the latter will hurt you in the former. As it should.