Fox Sports has promoted two executives who were allegedly involved in the firing of broadcaster Craig James because of his comments he made in support of traditional marriage. James made those comments before the network hired him and now asserts his firing was in violation of his religious liberty.
As Breitbart Sports has reported, James has said the decision to fire him came from the very top: “My agent told me that Eric Shanks himself said he made ‘the Godfather call’ to fire me.”
Eric Shanks, who was the Co-President of Fox Sports, will now be Fox Sports’s president after the other Co-President, Randy Freer, was promoted to Fox Network group president and COO.
After Fox Sports Southwest took James off the air after just one broadcast, a spokesperson for Fox Sports told the Dallas Morning News, “We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn’t say those things here.” James made those statements as a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012, long before he was hired by the network.
As Breitbart News has reported, “lawyers at Liberty Institute, a Texas-based law firm specializing in First Amendment litigation representing James, sent a letter to Fox Sports demanding they reinstate James” and filed a motion asking a Texas judge “to order Co-President Eric Shanks, Co-President Randy Freer, and Fox Sports Southwest Manager Jon Heidtke to give sworn testimony regarding this situation.”
It also asks a judge to order Fox Sports to surrender copies of all internal communications, as well as communications with Sports Illustrated (which first revealed that Fox was pulling James off the air) and the Dallas Morning News related to the decision to terminate Craig James.
According to Sports Business Daily, “Fox promoted Randy Freer to Fox Networks Group President & COO, a move that puts the longtime Fox exec over the group’s affiliate and ad sales divisions for Fox’ broadcasting channel, Fox Sports, FX, Fox Int’l and National Geographic.”
Freer “will continue to report to Fox Chair & CEO Peter Rice” and “also will continue to oversee sports rights acquisitions and team relationships.” With Freer’s move, Shanks now becomes Fox Sports President.”