Craig James, the Fox Sports football pundit who was fired in 2013 for expressing his traditional Christian views of “gay” marriage, filed suit Monday against his former employer, alleging religious discrimination.
“Fox Sports fired James for one reason only: his religious beliefs about marriage,” the suit accuses, Breitbart reported. “In so doing, Fox Sports violated the law. Specifically, Fox Sports violated the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act and Texas contract law along with a myriad of equitable principles.”
James names several defendants in the suit, including Fox Sports President Eric Shanks and Fox Network Groups President Randy Freer.
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“James never discussed his beliefs about marriage or religion in general on the job,” the suit notes. “Nevertheless, Fox Sports informed James that Fox Sports fired him due to his beliefs about marriage, which were explicitly religious.”
The suit stems from his 2012 run for the U.S. Senate, when he was asked for his views of gay marriage. James said then: “I’m a guy that believes in a man and a woman.”
The former New England Patriots running back, who is now working with the Family Research Council, openly supported protections for traditional marriage while a candidate for office.
He also called on Christians to “stand up” and defend the matter, and asserted his belief that “God’s going to judge each one of us in this room for our actions.”
James lost the political race, but was soon after hired by Fox Sports. His statements on marriage were resurrected by homosexual activists and he was fired in 2013, after providing only one on-air commentary.
A Fox spokesman told the Dallas Morning News in explanation to the firing: “We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human-resources department. He couldn’t say those things here.”
James, who said he never made those statements while in the employ of Fox Sports, expressed outrage at the firing.
He told Breitbart in an interview about his lawsuit that he was particularly upset he was held accountable for statements made in the context of a political campaign over a year before he joined the network.
“This is very troubling as an employee when your boss holds against you something you said about your belief system nearly eighteen months before you were recruited and hired,” he said. “I said nothing about my belief system on the air at Fox Sports. So, the fact that they reached back in my past nearly eighteen months and responded to a comment about my biblical belief in natural marriage as a candidate — that’s troubling.”
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James believes “there aren’t enough people standing up” as America chooses the “slippery slope” of distinctly anti-Christian paths.
“Here’s what I really am fighting for: the freedom for me to continue to believe as I believe, for every player in that locker room who has a belief system to not fear for having that belief system and to feel like they’ve got to be quiet about it and sheltered.
“This two-way street that we’ve had forever of the First Amendment, right now there’s a bulldozer over in the lane of religious freedom trying to shut us down. We cannot accept that. I’m not going to accept that. I’m not telling anyone else what they have to believe. Don’t tell me what I have to believe,” he said in a recent interview with WND/Radio America.
Legal experts, meanwhile, say James has a very good case.
“It makes the case very straightfoward,” said Hiram Sasser, an attorney at Liberty Institute who’s working on the case, to Breitbart Sports. “They admitted their reason. They were very proud of that reason.”
James seeks to be paid for the on-air analysis he provided Fox Sports that went unpaid, and damages of $100,000 or more, as well as attorneys’ fees.