(Photo: Screen grab/Fox News.com)
Football analyst Craig James was recently fired from his new gig at Fox Sports Southwest because of comments he made about homosexuality during a February 2012 Republican candidate debate for the U.S. Senate.
On Aug. 30, Fox Sports Southwest announced that James, who previously worked at ESPN, was hired as a college football analyst. However, following one appearance on the cable network, the veteran broadcaster was dropped from the postgame show he was to co-host along with Erin Hartigan and former NFL quarterback Tony Banks.
During one of the 2012 Republican candidate debates for the Senate seat vacated by retired Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, then candidate Ted Cruz voiced his concerns that Tom Leppert, the former mayor of Dallas who was also running for the Senate seat, had participated in two gay pride parades.
When asked by the debate moderator if Cruz was suggesting that Leppert was in favor of same-sex marriage, he replied: "What I am saying is that when a mayor of a city chooses twice to march in a parade celebrating gay pride, that's a statement - and it's not a statement I agree with."
Even though the point of contention was between Cruz and Leppert – who quickly assured conservative voters that he's opposed to same-sex marriage, but as a mayor and a Christian his duty was to represent all of his constituents and to reach out to everybody – James decided to weigh in on the issue by interjecting his opinion about homosexuality.
"I think right now in this country, 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. And I hear what you're saying, Tom, but leaders - our kids out there people need to see examples," James asserted during the debate.
His comments led the moderator to ask if he believes people are born homosexual or if they choose to be gay.
"I think it's a choice, I do," James said. "I think that you have to make that choice. … they are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions."
These comments, according to Sports illustrated, led Fox Sports executives to decide not to finalize a contract with James, who was hired by the regional network.
"Sports executives were not happy with the hire by the regional network, and the hire had not been fully vetted at the highest levels of Fox Sports management," SI.com reports.
A Fox Sports spokesperson also added that "Craig James will not be making any further appearances on Fox Sports Southwest's football coverage this season."
Comments made by Fox Sports Southwest Senior Executive Producer Mike Anastassiou announcing James' role as an analyst for Fox Sports Southwest's college football postgame shows and its Big 12 wrap-up show have been removed from the website, but the headline still remains.
In the 1980s, James played for the Washington Federals and the New England Patriots.