DALLAS (AP) — Former college football broadcaster Craig James says Fox Sports hit him with a "sucker punch" — first inviting him to join a regional network show, then firing him days later and telling the media he was too polarizing.
James has filed a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission accusing Fox of firing him because he spoke as a U.S. Senate candidate about his opposition to gay marriage. He told The Associated Press on Thursday that he wants to hold the network accountable for violating his religious freedom.
One day after his first appearance on Fox Sports Southwest, James says he was fired and then read a spokesman's comment online that the network questioned "how Craig's statements would play in our human resources department."
"That's like a sucker punch," James said Thursday. "For someone to call you and offer you a job, praise your talents, your credentials, put you on the air the next day and fire you the following the day: That's like some kind of mean joke."
James said the firing has left him "radioactive" for future broadcasting jobs.
The network says he was hired by regional executives and not "properly vetted."
"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 network said in a statement Thursday.
James was a longtime color commentator for ESPN who quit to run for U.S. Senate two years ago in Texas, where he grew up and starred at SMU. He finished fourth in the Republican primary.
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