Fox Sports host Craig James has been fired by the media giant after shocking homophobic comments surfaced online. During his failed 2012 run for the Senate in Texas, James said during a debate (above) that homosexuals would "have to answer to the lord for their actions." He adds during the debate that being gay is a "choice."
James, 52, is a former longtime ESPN broadcaster and professional footballer player with the New England Patriots (1984-'88).
Here's what you need to know...
1. James Only Joined Fox Sports in August
The Texas conservative had been out of work since 2012 when he left his role at ESPN to take a run at the Senate. Sports Illustrated spoke to a Fox Sports spokesperson, who told them: "Craig James will not be making any further appearances on Fox Sports Southwest's football coverage this season." A different spokesperson for the network 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."
Deadspin quoted James at the time of his controversial comments:
I think it's a choice. I do. I think—you have to make that choice. Absolutely. I'm gonna finish this up now. Same-sex marriage, if someone chooses to do that, that's them. And the Lord—God's going to judge each one of us in this room for our actions. But in that case right there, they're going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions. We should not give benefits to those civil unions.
It should not occur. We have to stay strong on this. This is important, man. I'm telling you what: We have a fiscal issue in this country. We also have a moral issue in this country.
2. There Were Claims During His Senate Campaign That James Had Murdered 5 Hookers
D Magazine reports that during James' run for the Senate, a Google search for his name began to bring up claims that he had murdered prostitutes while he was a student at Southern Methodist University. A spokesperson for his campaign denied the allegations to the magazine:
Yeah, no, I can categorically, definitively say that is absolutely untrue. I know that in this day and age of the internet, there’s a lot of things that people like to do to be funny and to ridicule people. But in this case, it’s very disrespectful to another human being to spread a rumor like that. That is despicable. I mean, Craig is a wonderful family man.
I have worked with him since the beginning of the campaign, and I have not met–I’ve worked in politics a long time — I have not met a more honorable, decent human being than Craig James. He is a wonderful Christian man, loves his wife, Marilyn. They’ve been married for almost 30 years. He has four beautiful children. And to spread these kinds of rumors is just malicious. And I just find it really despicable that people would stoop to that level to attack a man’s character.
3. In 2009, James Was Accused of Manufacturing the Firing of a Texas Tech Coach
Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach was fired in 2009 over allegations of the mistreatment of a player. The player's father alleged that while his son was injured with a concussion he was ostracized from his teammates. The player, Adam James, is the son of Craig James. The New York Times pointed out that fans of Leach were quick to criticize James who was painted as "an overzealous father who attended nearly half of Texas Tech’s practices this season and tried to influence his son’s playing time."
4. During His College Playing Career James Admitted to Accepting Gifts
In 1986, James was one of the many players at Southern Methodist University who were found to be accepting gifts of cash from the college in exchange to playing. The college had also used a slush fund to recruit players. The practice went on for over 15 years within the school with James coming forward and admitting his role in it.
After the revelations, the college received the "death penalty" from the NCAA, which meant the college couldn't profit from games, the team were stripped of achievements and the college was forbidden from recruiting for two years, among other things.
5. James Claims the First Player to Tackle Him in the NFL was Lawrence Taylor
During an ESPN broadcast, James said that he was first tackled by the great Lawrence Taylor during his rookie season. James played as a running back for the New England Patriots between 1984-88. He retired having rushed for 2,469 yards and 11 touchdowns in his five seasons with the Patriots as well as 819 receiving yards.
He played in the 1986 Super Bowl between the Patriots and the Chicago Bears. The Bears ran out 46-10 winners.