Craig James out at Fox Sports Southwest After Single Appearance
If you happen to have a "Craig James: Fox Sports Southwest" business card in your possession, now might be a good time to dispose of it.
According to Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch, the former ESPN broadcaster has been dismissed from his post as studio analyst after just one appearance for the network.
UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 6
Dallas News' Barry Horn has the latest:
On Monday, the Foxies, in a one-sentence statement, announced James, who had yet to sign a contract, was out.
It seems the honchos at Fox Sports headquarters in Los Angeles weren’t happy with the hire at their most important regional network.
Recall James resigned from ESPN in 2011 to enter the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat that ultimately went to Ted Cruz.
During the campaign James took a strong anti-gay stance.
“We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department,” said a Fox spokesman. “He couldn’t say those things here.”
Cue the "that was fast" jokes.
James, who left ESPN in late 2011 to run for a then-vacant U.S. Senate seat in Texas, was recently hired by Fox Sports Southwest as a college football analyst. The regional network's Twitter account welcomed him to their family on Friday:
Former SMU & NFL tailback Craig James joins FSSW as studio analyst on primetime CFB postgame shows this fall. http://t.co/c5acvYbbXL— FOX Sports Southwest (@FSSouthwest) August 30, 2013
Per Deitsch's report, executives were not happy with the hiring of the former NFL pro, as "the hire 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," said a Fox Sports spokesman, via Deitsch.
Though the exact motivations behind the dismissal are not known, it is reasonable to assume it is an attempt by the network executives to nip things in the bud and distance themselves from a controversial figure.
Once a mainstay on ESPN's college football programs and game-day coverage, James left the network right around the time his son, Adam James (a former member of the Texas Tech football squad), was unceremoniously involved in a scandal that ultimately resulted in the firing of Mike Leach as Texas Tech head coach.
Leach lost a lawsuit he filed against ESPN and Craig James earlier this year, in which Leach accused the network, PR firm Spaeth Communications and James of libel and slander related to the way in which he handled Adam's concussion.
As reported by David Barron of the Houston Chronicle, James was being brought into the Fox Sports Southwest fold to take part in a Saturday night postgame college football show and its Big 12 Live program.
FS Southwest executive producer Mike Anastassiou had high praise for James when the move was announced.
"His knowledge of college football and the experience he brings as an analyst will be a tremendous asset to our coverage," Anastassiou said in a statement, per the Chronicle.
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