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Craig James Fired By FOX Sports Southwest Over Anti-Gay Comments: REPORT

09/07/2013 03:52 pm ET
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College football analyst Craig James was fired after a brief stint with FOX Sports Southwest over anti-gay comments he made while running for political office in Texas, according to of the Dallas Morning News. James joined Fox Sports Southwest in late August but was fired after just one appearance.

A former college football standout at SMU and with the New England Patriots during the 1980s who went on to become a polarizing analyst for ESPN, James left broadcasting to enter the race for a vacant senate seat in Texas in 2011. During a debate in February 2012, James said that gay people would "answer to the Lord for their actions" and claimed that being gay was "a choice," according to USA Today. He also chastised opponent Tom Leppert for attending a gay pride parade.

“We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department,” an unnamed Fox spokesman told Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News after it was reported that James had been fired. “He couldn’t say those things here.”

James made one appearance on FSSN during the first weekend of the college football season and then was sacked. Citing unnamed sources, Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated reported that James' hiring "had not been fully vetted at the highest levels of Fox Sports management."

"Craig James will not be making any further appearances on Fox Sports Southwest's football coverage this season," a Fox Sports spokesperson told Deitsch.

While at ESPN, James became embroiled in a controversy involving coach Mike Leach, then the coach at Texas Tech. In 2011, James left ESPN to run for office. When FOX Sports Southwest announced James' return to broadcasting, they touted the hire proudly.

“We’re excited to add Craig to the FOX Sports Southwest team,” FSSW executive producer Mike Anastassiou said when James was hired, according to the Houston Chronicle. “He’s a talented broadcaster who I’ve admired throughout his career. His knowledge of college football and the experience he brings as an analyst will be a tremendous asset to our coverage.”

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