Could Craig James Hurt ESPN Advertisers Like AT&T, Sears and Allstate?

Ryan TeeplesCorrespondent IDecember 2, 2011

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 05:  Boise State Broncos fans Tim Dudley (L) and his wife Kara Dudley of Idaho hold anti-ESPN signs during a game between the Broncos and the UNLV Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium November 5, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Boise State won 48-21.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Craig James is a villain who is strongly despised by a significant portion of the sports world. But, is he hurting ESPN advertisers?

In made-for-Hollywood drama, could college football fans and the "websphere" actually take him down? There is a movement afoot to use ESPN advertisers as a way for fans to make it known just how much they dislike the TV personality.

James’ millions of detractors say he’s crooked, lying, smarmy and unlikeable. That his past is blotted with shady behavior and an almost unprecedented sense of entitlement.

He’s belligerent and bullying, they say. Pontificating and pompous.  He’s disliked with such vitriol that one can’t help but take notice.

But, he’s still gainfully employed at ESPN (A Disney Company, NASDAQ:DIS), calling Thursday night college football games and angering an entire nation that believes he should be commiserating with fellow vile college football ilk like Jim Tressel or even Jerry Sandusky.

America wants him fired. There’s a petition. There’s a Twitter campaign. And there are endless blog posts and message board items pushing for his termination.

Could a little grassroots coordination make it happen?

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Understanding Why Everyone Hates Craig James

Are you confused by the negativity Craig James invokes from college football fandom? Maybe you have yet to understand the breadth of James' misdeeds. Maybe you doubt the assessment above as one man’s jaded opinion.

DALLAS - SEPTEMBER 24:  Fans of the SMU Mustangs wave a flag during play against the TCU Horned Frogs at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on September 24, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

If that is the case, start with some light reading on the subject.

Start with Jen Floyd Engel of Fox Sports, and read her breakdown of the lies Craig James perpetrated to get Mike Leach fired.

Then, watch ESPN’s Pony Excess documentary, and read what Cory Geiger had to say on the matter.

And finally, read Ty Duffy’s story on The Big Lead, which exposes how Craig James' football prejudices and personal crusade against Oklahoma and Boise State is altering the BCS standings and national championship matchup.

A vocal population of college football concludes James is a self-aggrandizing liar of the worst kind, who uses sophistry to get what he wants like we use paper towels to dry our hands.

And the worst part is, they argue, that ESPN allows him to continue to run his agenda through his position at the network.

The “Fire Craig James” Movement

Bob Marley’s classic “Get Up, Stand Up” enlightened us with the line, “You can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 26: Doug Martin #22 of the Boise State Broncos runs the ball against the Wyoming Cowboys at Bronco Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images)
Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

There is a very loud resonant message on Twitter and message-boards calling for ESPN to fire Craig James to put an end to his fooling.

#FireCraigJames trends on Twitter Thursday nights.

There’s a Human Rights Campaign Petition that will soon have thousands of signers.

There’s even a Fire Craig James Facebook Page.

But, the movement is just getting started.

Hitting ESPN Where it Hurts – The Advertisers

Now, fans of firing Craig James are rallying to get ESPN to take notice of their pleas in a place they can’t miss it: their wallets.

Thursday Night Football on ESPN is sponsored by Applebee’s, and Hyundai supports the Thursday Night studio show.

Fans are urging one another to boycott Applebee’s, Hyundai and other sponsors and start a grassroots movement to contact those advertisers via Twitter and email and let them know.

Fans are encouraged to inform advertisers and sponsors of James’ shady past and explain that they refuse to do business with companies that align themselves with such unseemliness.

If enough companies get thousands of complaints, they reason, ESPN will open its eyes and consider the termination.

Below is a list of those major advertisers for Thursday Night Football and the places fans are encouraged to contact them.

So will fans “Get Up, Stand Up?” It remains to be seen.

But, Craig James ought to beware what happens when enough momentum gets behind a worthy cause.

Thursday Night Football Advertisers

These are the companies which fans are targeting and the methods they are reaching them:

Hyundai: Accepts comments through @Hyundai on Twitter, on their website or by phone at (800) 633-5151

Applebee’s (NASDAQ: APPB): @Applebees on Twitter, on their website or call 888-592-7753

Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD): @Sears on Twitter, on their website or call (847) 286-2500

Chevrolet: @Chevrolet on Twitter, on their website or call 1-800-263-3777

Jared, the Galleria of Jewelry: On their website or call 1-800-527-8229

Taco Bell (NYSE: YUM): @TacoBell on Twitter, on their website or call 1-800-TACO-BELL

Allstate Insurance (NYSE:ALL): @AllState on Twitter, on their website or call 847-402-5000

AT&T (NYSE:ATT): @ATT on Twitter, on their website or call 1-800-351-7221


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.