The Texas Workforce Commission will investigate a claim by football analyst Craig James that former employer Fox Sports Southwest discriminated against him based on his religious beliefs, according to the Houston Chronicle.
James previously worked as a college football analyst at ESPN before leaving the network to run for U.S. Senate, a bid that failed. He was hired by Fox Sports Southwest as an analyst after the campaign but was fired after only one appearance on the air due to anti-gay comments he made during his senate run. The network claimed that it had not vetted James properly.
After James demanded to be reinstated at the network and claimed that the firing discriminated against him due to religious beliefs, the analyst's attorneys said on Thursday that the Texas Workforce Commission would look into the firing as possible discrimination.
From the Houston Chronicle's report:
James made comments during his Senate campaign indicating his opposition to gay marriage, and he alleges that statements by the network regarding his dismissal support his belief that he was fired on religious grounds. He told the Associated Press last week the incident has left him “radioactive” for future broadcasting jobs.
Fox has said that James’ hiring by the regional network was not “properly vetted” and that his position as a “polarizing figure” in the world of Texas sports led to the decision not to retain him.
The discrimination claim isn't James' first brush with controversy. While still at ESPN, James got into a public spat with Texas Tech coach Mike Leach that ultimately saw Leach file a lawsuit against James and ESPN.SI WIRE: Report: Nebraska coach Bo Pelini receives contract extension through 2018