Craig James, sports analyst fired for opposing gay marriage, hired by conservative Christian group

Craig JamesVideo Screenshot

Craig James went head to head with Fox Sports in February 2014 when he claimed the network fired him for his opposition to gay marriage. The former broadcaster is again in the news, this time for being hired by conservative Christian lobbying group Family Research Council (FRC).

James' religious beliefs were exposed in February 2012, when the Republican was running for Texas Senate. During a debate, James criticized fellow Republican candidate and former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert for marching in gay pride parades while in office.

"I think right now in this country," James began, "our moral fiber is sliding down a slope that is going to be hard to stop if we don't stand up with leaders who don't go ride in gay parades. I can assure you I will never ride in a gay parade."

The moderator asked if homosexuality was a choice or determined by one's genes.

"I think that you have to make that choice," James answered. "But in that case right there, they are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions. We should not give benefits to those civil unions."

The former NFL player finished fourth in the Republican primary.

After the election loss, the broadcaster was hired by Fox Sports Southwest regional executives. He appeared on-air, and was fired a day later after higher-ups found out about his employment there. James has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the network.

For their part, Fox Sports has emphatically denied that James' religious beliefs were a factor in their decision.

"Craig James is a polarizing figure in the college sports community," a Fox Sports statement read, "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 is referring to a fued James had with former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach that resulted in lawsuits, negative press for ESPN and Texas Tech, and Leach's firing. James' son, Adam, played for the school, and James accused Leach of mistreating him.

The Family Research Council states that James will be working with like-minded people in his new position.

"Losing one job because of his religious beliefs has made room for another," wrote FRC President Tony Perkins in a statment. "[James'] leadership skills, his courage in the face of religious hostility, and his passion for faith, family and freedom will make him a great addition to the FRC team."