A former pro football player and failed U.S. Senate candidate has sued Fox Sports for religious discrimination after he was fired from his broadcasting job.
A spokesman said James didn’t fit in with the company because of anti-LGBT statements he made during his unsuccessful Senate bid in 2012, when he criticized another candidate for attending a gay pride parade and said LGBT people “are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions.”
James, who played one year in the USFL for the Washington Federals and four years in the NFL for the New England Patriots, quit a previous broadcasting job with ESPN to run for office.
He received just 4 percent of the vote in the Republican primary won by Sen. Ted Cruz.
James claims Fox Sports Southwest violated his religious freedom by firing him over the anti-LGBT comments.
Attorneys from the Liberty Institute said Eric Shanks, president of Fox Sports, said during a January deposition that network spokesman Lou D’Ermilio had falsely claimed to the Dallas Morning News that James was fired for his views on same-sex marriage.
“Fox Sports’ firing of Craig James because of his sincerely held religious beliefs concerning marriage, beliefs held by millions of Americans, constitutes religious discrimination that violates the law,” said attorney Jeff Mateer, of the Liberty Institute. “In order to avoid that claim, Fox executives now contend what their national spokesperson said to the media at the time of the firing was false.”
“Someone’s not telling the truth,” said Mateer, who’s representing James. “This action will get to the bottom of those contentions. Regardless, Fox Sports is responsible.”