Thursday, March 6, 2014

Legal Action Results in Formal Charge Against Fox Sports SW


On February 25, Liberty Institute filed a formal complaint against Texas-based Fox Sports SW with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) on behalf of sportscaster Craig James, who was fired for his religious beliefs about marriage.  This week, the Texas Commission issued a Charge of Discrimination against Fox Sports SW,  The Commission will now commence an investigation.

“The Texas Workforce Commission issuing a Charge of Discrimination against Fox Sports Southwest and conducting an investigation is a serious step toward holding Fox Sports accountable for violating the law and the religious liberty of Craig James,” said Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute Managing Director of Strategic Litigation.

View an online copy of the Charge of Discrimination against Fox Sports. 

Last September, Fox Sports approached Craig James—a former prominent ESPN football analyst for many years following a successful NFL career—and offered him a job as a college football commentator. When he accepted the offer, Fox Sports issued a press release trumpeting Mr. James’ hiring.

But after only one program, where Mr. James was said to perform well, he was fired.

The Dallas Morning News quoted a Fox Sports spokesperson as saying that the reason for James’ termination was a statement made by James a year earlier while he was running for the U.S. Senate. James answered a question about legalized same-sex marriage, saying that he opposed it for religious reasons, a view he shares with tens of millions of Americans.

Mr. James retained Liberty Institute, the nation’s largest legal organization exclusively dedicated to defending religious liberty across America, to represent him.

In a sworn, filmed deposition taken January 14 in Los Angeles, Fox Sports President Eric Shanks testified under oath that Fox Sports misled The Dallas Morning News and did not fire James for his faith.

“Either Fox Sports is lying, and really did violate Mr. James’ rights by firing him solely because of his legally protected religious viewpoint,” said Sasser, “or they were lying last September when they fired him, and allowed one of their top PR executives to mislead the media, defame Mr. James, and slur the millions of Americans who share his beliefs and implying they could not work at Fox.” 

Sasser continued, “Amazingly, Mr. Shanks testified he has not even bothered to investigate this serious breach of ethics and law within his own company. Whatever the case, we are filing an employment discrimination complaint and will get to the bottom of this outrageous example of workplace bigotry against people of faith.”

“This is a major case for the future of religious liberty in the marketplace,” said Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of Liberty Institute. “Imagine a nation where your business or job can be taken away, not because of anything you have done on the job but merely because of your religious beliefs. That’s what this fight is about—and why we intend to win.”

Please donate now to Liberty Institute’s efforts to defend and restore religious liberty in strategic areas of American society. Your gift will help stop the religious discrimination that threatens you, your family, your church, and our nation.

About Liberty Institute
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches, in the military and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit