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The downfall of Craig James: 'You create your own karma' 

 
Craig James wearing a suit and tie: Craig James tried a run for Senate as a Texas Republican in 2012, but lost to Ted Cruz. (AP)

 

DALLAS – Craig James’ square jaw, perfectly coiffed hair and All-American charisma helped make him one of the most recognizable faces of college football for nearly two decades. From ESPN analyst Lee Corso nicknaming him “Mustang Breath” in the early days of ESPN “College GameDay” to a long analyst stint on ESPN’s “Thursday Night Football” package, James was intertwined with many of the sport’s biggest moments.

 

After compiling impeccable playing credentials starring at tailback at SMU and for the New England Patriots in the NFL, James made $416,000 for his work at ESPN as recently as 2011. James became such an entrenched part of the media scene that he started the “Craig James School of Broadcasting” in 1993 to train former coaches and players.

“He was Herbie before Herbie,” said James’ old ESPN colleague, NBC’s Mike Tirico, referencing beloved ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit.

These days, the most notable part of James’ broadcast repertory is his complete absence from the airwaves. James’ last television gig came in August of 2013, a one-episode stint on an obscure Fox Sports Southwest show that ended in a controversial firing. As his prominence has faded from both screen and memory, a complicated question looms: Whatever happened to Craig James?

A breadcrumb trail of legal documents, polarizing political statements and high-profile controversies have left him virtually unemployable in the modern broadcast climate.

Inquiries to he, various lawyers and affiliated political organizations culminated with a text message from James to Yahoo Sports this week: “In 2014 my commitment to the Lord and my family took center stage in my life,” adding that he recently graduated from the Dallas Theological Seminary. “Life is good being a Monday morning armchair [quarterback],” he said. “To God be the glory.”

The unraveling of James’ television career from the sport’s leading analyst to armchair quarterback weaves through a series of controversies that includes his role in Mike Leach’s firing at Texas Tech in 2009 and a doomed Senate run in 2012. James received just four percent of the vote in losing to an upstart Republican candidate, Ted Cruz, in the primary.

“It was one of the most bizarre and ill-fated campaigns we’ve seen from someone of prominence in the state of Texas,” said Mark Jones, a professor of political science at Rice University.

James’ candidacy was doomed by both his complete lack of political experience and his emergence as a lightning rod in the state for his role in Leach’s firing after allegations of mistreatment of James’ son. James’ political strategy may have cost him any return to television, as Jones recalls James taking a stance to the right of the notably conservative Cruz.

a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a building: Craig James (L) walks into the Texas Tech Administration Office for depositions related to Mike Leach’s lawsuit on March 13, 2010, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP)© Provided by Oath Inc. Craig James (L) walks into the Texas Tech Administration Office for depositions related to Mike Leach’s lawsuit on March 13, 2010, in Lubbock, Texas. (AP)

During that campaign, James, 57, made a flurry of inflammatory statements, including that gays “would have to answer to the Lord for their actions” and that being gay is “a choice.” He criticized an opponent for taking part in a gay parade: “Right now in this country, our moral fiber is sliding down a slope that is going to be hard to stop if we don’t stand up with leaders who don’t go ride in gay parades.”

In explaining James’ dismissal after one show on Fox Sports Southwest, a Fox spokesman initially nodded to these comments in a statement to the Dallas Morning News – “he couldn’t say those things here.”

James filed a lawsuit against Fox for religious discrimination, backed by the Texas-based Liberty Institute, and he also joined the Washington D.C.-based Family Research Council, which claims to advance public policy from a “Christian worldview.” The lawsuit, which was announced with fanfare, led to Fox responding with a 224-page motion to dismiss, much of which doubles as a troll over James’ journalistic shortcomings during the Leach saga. A letter in the court filing serves as a description for why James’ ostracization from mainstream television likely won’t end. It sums up James, a former face of the sport, as “divisive, contentious and undesirable.”

Back when Kirk Herbstreit played quarterback at Ohio State, he can remember sitting in the Buckeyes’ team hotel in September of 1992. As they killed the day waiting to play No. 8 Syracuse, Herbstreit watched ESPN with rapt attention.

The Buckeyes had struggled in early season wins over Louisville and Bowling Green, and Herbstreit recalls James comparing the Orange to a Corvette and the Buckeyes to a clunky truck. More than a quarter century later, he still remembers James’ specific caustic comments about Ohio State.

“Craig James was as obnoxious as he could be about how Ohio State was from the Big Ten and slow and in for a rude awakening,” Herbstreit said. “You talk about galvanizing. You should have seen our locker room. What was missing for two weeks was there and we blew them out.”

Herbstreit recalled the anecdote in a recent phone interview not to pick on James. He was illustrating just how powerful James’ voice was at a time when there simply weren’t that many voices in the sport.

“You have to take your readers to the era,” he said. “No ESPN News or SEC or Pac-12 Network. There was just one show … and people tuned in to watch Craig be the sarcastic and cocky guy.”

A few years later, Herbstreit recalls being at a pay phone in the Detroit airport on his way to call an Arena League football game. He’d auditioned for James’ role on “ESPN GameDay” after James left for CBS to be a fixture of their NFL coverage. Herbstreit never dreamed he’d get it, as he’d only been doing local media and the occasional Kurt Warner arena game. Herbstreit took a knee in shock when his agent told him he’d got the job, as he knew that it would change his life forever.

Herbstreit says being just 26 at the time was a blessing, as he recalled the prospect of replacing a voice as prominent as James as “terrifying.”

“He was the guy, and it left a gaping hole on their desk,” Herbstreit said. “Craig was the hot guy at the time, he’d played with the Patriots in the NFL. But it wasn’t just his NFL background, he had a charisma on-air and a swagger that he brought.”

The turning point in Craig James’ transformation from media mainstay to exiled outsider can be traced to the contentious events of December of 2009. James’ son, Adam, suffered a concussion in bowl practices for Texas Tech. The handling of that led to the firing of Mike Leach, lives indelibly altered and it took more than five years to litigate in the courts.

The version of the story pushed by the James family involved Leach punishing him by banishing him to a small dark closet. Leach denies this version, as he wanted Adam James away from the practice field and out of the sunlight to deal with the concussion.

Emails that emerged later showed that Craig James used a Texas-based strategic consulting firm, Spaeth Communications, to leak information to publicly pile on Leach. That included a video played on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” that Adam James took from his alleged exile. Leach later said, “ESPN … was just spewing this stuff that Spaeth and Craig James were feeding them.” As emails and phone messages emerged in the legal process, Craig James came off an overbearing Little League dad who’d leave coaches lengthy messages complaining about his son’s playing time. In Fox’s 2015 legal filings to get James’ lawsuit dismissed, they claimed: “Leach’s dismissal left many viewers with strong, negative opinions about James’ credibility and journalistic ethics.” (That suit got settled and attorneys agreed to dismiss it in 2016.)

Leach’s lawsuit against ESPN, James and Spaeth was filed in 2010 and took until 2015 to finally cycle out of court. Leach lost his final appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. By then, Leach was back coaching at Washington State after sitting out the 2010 and 2011 seasons. James didn’t return requests seeking specific comment. (Adam James, according to LinkedIn, appears to work in real estate and land development in the Dallas area.)

a man with a helmet on a baseball field: SMU tailback Craig James runs away from BYU defenders during the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 19, 1980. (AP)© Provided by Oath Inc. SMU tailback Craig James runs away from BYU defenders during the Holiday Bowl on Dec. 19, 1980. (AP)

Leach remains bitter about the firing from Tech and James’ role in it, as he feels it cost him his job at Tech and two prime years of his career. In a recent phone interview, Leach said of James: “You create your own karma. It looks like he might have created his. I think he’s a dishonest person and the sport is better off without him. And that’s pretty clear-cut.”

According to Texas Monthly, James described his battle with Leach during a speech at a church as a “spiritual war.” He illuminated that comment by telling Texas Monthly, “There’s a lot of people who don’t have a faith and don’t believe what I believe, who want to rip me up,” he said in 2012. “They don’t like the fact that I go home to the same lady every night and have for 29 years.”

Even those who remain more aligned with James question his decision to run for political office. Former Texas Tech chancellor Kent Hance, who considers James a friend, advised him against running for Senate. Hance, who is a former U.S. congressman, summed up James’ fall this way: “He understood football and announcing, but he had no conception of politics. Especially going for U.S. Senate on your first try. It’s like being an engineer and all of a sudden trying to be a banker.”

SMU coach Sonny Dykes saw James’ legal battle from both sides. He worked for Leach, considers him a friend and spent hours on the phone with him talking about James. Dykes also recruited Adam James to Texas Tech as an assistant and coaches on the campus where Craig James rushed for 3,742 yards as part of the iconic Pony Express with Eric Dickerson. (James admitted to the Dallas Morning News during his political campaign that he took “insignificant” extra benefits from boosters, as he was there during a corrupt era that led to the school receiving the NCAA’s dreaded death penalty.)

Dykes said he wishes James would come around SMU more, yet understands why he’s a controversial figure.

“You know, he kind of messed with the wrong guy,” Dykes said. “Mike Leach has a lot of people that like him and some powerful people. It seemed like that got the tide turned against Craig. I don’t know what happened. I really don’t.”

One of the hallmarks of James’ disappearance has been a distinct lack of nostalgia or clamor for his voice to return to the scene. He’s done occasional media appearances the past few years, as he tweeted about a recent spot on the “Tony Bruno Show” and did an interview earlier this year for a book on Texas high school football.

James tried to engage his old contact base for his podcast – “Airing It Out with Craig James” – which ended in January of 2016 after 45 episodes. A website that promoted that podcast and some of James’ writing – CraigJames.com – appears to have stopped being updated around the same time. James mixed football analysis with religious writing. Articles included, “Of Course, Evangelicals CAN vote for Trump,” “Transgendered Insanity Sweeps the Nation” and “The Dangerous Truth About Atheism.”

Financially, James doesn’t appear to need the work, according to media reports that emerged during his campaign. He sold part of a business for $3 million before his campaign and owns an annuity that’s slated to pay him at least a half-million a year. He owns a ranch worth at least a half-million dollars and is selling his gated ranch home in Celina, Texas, for nearly $1.5 million. It rests hundreds of yards behind a gate, with an American flag towering over the entrance.

James says he’s comfortable in his role outside the media. He has a certificate in Biblical and Theological Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary. James said he’s found a new role. “As a modern day warrior for Jesus Christ, I seek to share His Good News for all,” he told Yahoo Sports in a text.

His ties to the television industry have loosened the past few years. James had the paradoxical existence of being well known without being beloved, famous without being popular and friendly yet distant to many who worked with him. A Big 12 source summed him up this way: “He had a unique way of covering up ignorance with arrogance.”

Tirico considers James, who he endearingly calls “Pony,” a “lifelong pal” after their years together at ESPN. Tirico hadn’t seen him in years and ran into him at a Patriots game two years ago and they reconnected like they’d spoken last week. But Tirico understood the media exile and difficulty James will have returning from it. “When you go down the road as staunchly as he did,” Tirico said, “it’s hard to cycle back and be the All-American running back.”

James told Yahoo Sports he’s “attended all six of my grandkids’ births!” He added that his nickname has changed from “The Pony” to “Pop C” to his grandkids.

In the wake of negative headlines from the Leach drama and the untrue claims about James killing prostitutes that still exist in his Google profile, James theorized to Texas Monthly that there’s “a group of people who would like to see me come down.” He added: “They don’t like that I’ve been a dad and I’ve been there for my kids. They don’t like that I’ve been in the spotlight but haven’t stumbled.”

 

 

 

 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/ncaafb/the-downfall-of-craig-james-you-create-your-own-karma/ar-BBQVQaG?li=BBnb7Kz

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Senor Ballistico said:

A Big 12 source summed him up this way: “He had a unique way of covering up ignorance with arrogance.”

😆

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10 hours ago, Senor Ballistico said:

The downfall of Craig James: 'You create your own karma' 

 ...

 

The version of the story pushed by the James family involved Leach punishing him by banishing him to a small dark closet. Leach denies this version, as he wanted Adam James away from the practice field and out of the sunlight to deal with the concussion.

Emails that emerged later showed that Craig James used a Texas-based strategic consulting firm, Spaeth Communications, to leak information to publicly pile on Leach. That included a video played on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” that Adam James took from his alleged exile. Leach later said, “ESPN … was just spewing this stuff that Spaeth and Craig James were feeding them.” As emails and phone messages emerged in the legal process, Craig James came off an overbearing Little League dad who’d leave coaches lengthy messages complaining about his son’s playing time.

...

Leach remains bitter about the firing from Tech and James’ role in it, as he feels it cost him his job at Tech and two prime years of his career. In a recent phone interview, Leach said of James: “You create your own karma. It looks like he might have created his. I think he’s a dishonest person and the sport is better off without him. And that’s pretty clear-cut.”

...

According to Texas Monthly, James described his battle with Leach during a speech at a church as a “spiritual war.” He illuminated that comment by telling Texas Monthly, “There’s a lot of people who don’t have a faith and don’t believe what I believe, who want to rip me up,” he said in 2012. “They don’t like the fact that I go home to the same lady every night and have for 29 years.”

...

In the wake of negative headlines from the Leach drama and the untrue claims about James killing prostitutes that still exist in his Google profile, James theorized to Texas Monthly that there’s “a group of people who would like to see me come down.” He added: “They don’t like that I’ve been a dad and I’ve been there for my kids. They don’t like that I’ve been in the spotlight but haven’t stumbled.”

 

 

Sometimes I have a little pang of guilt of being part of the rabble that has perpetuated the myth that Craig James killed 5 hookers at SMU ... but reading this reminds me what a terrible human being he is and absolves me of those feelings.

 

Yes, Craig, people dislike you because you are a husband and a father.  Woe be unto us husbands and fathers for the undue burden we all battle, of society trying to bring us down ...

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Oh, the tortured arch-conservative ostracized and alienated in notoriously liberal Texas ... 

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4 minutes ago, frogtwang said:

That guy is the worst kind of shit. #$%@ him. 

I actually enjoyed that read. I laughed the whole way through.

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With apologies to Samuel Johnson, it appears that religion, along with patriotism, can serve as the last refuge of a scoundrel.

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16 minutes ago, Newbomb Turk said:

With apologies to Samuel Johnson, it appears that religion, along with patriotism, can serve as the last refuge of a scoundrel.

When in doubt, always go hardcore Evangelical. #douchecanoe

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I often despise people for being married a long time and being parents.  I also like to kick puppies and throw mean looks at kittens.

 

Thank god there are people like Craig James in the world.  

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This may not be interesting to anyone else but me, however I did some snooping after seeing some references to RedVoice Radio and GamedayRadio, put two and two together, and came up with the following. Brian Estridge has an empire!

 

RedVoice, LLC and Gameday Radio

Estridge began RedVoice Productions, LLC in 2006 and acts as President of the company.[8] The company is headquartered at 7209 Windswept Tri in Colleyville, TX.

In 2013 Estridge's ties with ESPN Radio allowed him to apply for the rights to broadcast the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The company was granted the broadcast rights and allowed to begin broadcasting the game in January 2014. RedVoice continues to maintain these rights. In 2015 they acquired the rights to the Celebration Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl, and the Bahamas Bowl.[9]

In 2017 RedVoice teamed up with Pikewood Sports and broadcast their college bowl games under the name Gameday Radio. They also doubled their bowl production by adding the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the Frisco Bowl, the Gasparilla Bowl, and the Birmingham Bowl. Estridge himself acts as the play-by-play voice for the Armed Forces, Heart of Dallas, and Frisco Bowls. All games produced by RedVoice, LLC air across Premiere Radio Networks affiliates.

Inventory continued to increase in 2018 as RedVoice acquired the Las Vegas Bowl and expanded into college basketball by acquiring broadcast rights for the Myrtle Beach Invitational (semi's & championship), the Charleston Classic (championship), the NIT Tip-Off (all Brooklyn games), the AdvoCare Invitational (championship), the Wooden Legacy (championship), and the Diamond Head Classic (championship). As in 2017, all 2018 events were broadcast under the name Gameday Radio.

In addition to Estridge, RedVoice employees TCU's football analyst John Denton, TCU's sideline reporter Landry Burdine, Kansas football and men's basketball play-by-play radio broadcaster Brian Hanni, Georgia State on ESPN3 play-by-play broadcaster Sam Crenshaw, Hugh Douglas, former college football coach Rob Best, and local office personnel. The number of personnel is expected to continue to increase as RedVoice continues to acquire more bowl games, expand into college basketball tournaments, and begin a NCAA Football Game of the Week.[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Estridge

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Fan talking shit gets checked by Marcus Peters.  I bet the fan pissed his pants. 

 

 

 

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On 12/10/2018 at 12:46 PM, Duquesne Frog said:

Harold Baines?  Really?

Three writers at Gil LeBreton's website are voters and all three left him off their ballots. Of course, they ALL voted for Edgar Martinez (if one is comparing DHs). I don't think Harold will get in the HOF this time.

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This may not look sports related at first glance, but people could drive their late-model Ford pick-up with an engine block heater while hunting or fishing or traveling to a sporting event, so...

 

Ford recalling 874,000 pickup trucks in North America for fire risks

The second largest U.S. automaker said the recall covers some 2015-2019 Ford F-150 trucks, along with the 2017-2019 Ford F-250 Super Duty, F-350 Super Duty, F-450 Super Duty, and F-550 Super Duty pick-up trucks.

 

Ford said water and contaminants may get into the block heater cable’s splice connector, causing corrosion and damage and potentially a fire. Ford told U.S. regulators it is aware of reports of three fires in Canada linked to the issue, but unaware of any reports of accidents or injuries.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ford-recall/ford-recalling-874000-pickup-trucks-in-north-america-for-fire-risks-idUSKCN1OK1G0?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews

 

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Regents approve new campus arena for Longhorns

University of Texas regents on Thursday approved a plan to build a $300 million on-campus basketball arena to replace the 41-year-old Frank Erwin Center.

 

Plans call for the Longhorns' facility to be built across the street from the football stadium. Seating for basketball games would be capped at about 10,000 with space for 5,000 more for concerts and other events.

 

The building is expected to open in 2021.

http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/25582623/regents-approve-new-campus-basketball-arena-texas-longhorns

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1 hour ago, PurpleDawg said:

 

 

I love this.  Just think about how many lives that man has influenced and the legacy he's leaving.  The reporter also did a great job of just letting the man speak and not interrupting.  That is a lost art in the media. 

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4 hours ago, angelosfrog said:

 

I love this.  Just think about how many lives that man has influenced and the legacy he's leaving.  The reporter also did a great job of just letting the man speak and not interrupting.  That is a lost art in the media. 

It was really great. I'm happy our new recruit, Mr. Foster, will continue the life lessons learned from Coach Johnston with Coach P. That kid has landed in a couple of great programs in his short life.

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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The 2020 Winter Classic will be held at the Cotton Bowl in Texas.

The Dallas Stars will host the 12th edition of the NHL’s annual outdoor game on New Year’s Day. But Commissioner Gary Bettman says the league hasn’t decided on their opponent.

 

https://amp.si.com/nhl/2019/01/01/2020-winter-classic-dallas-stars-host-cotton-bowl?__twitter_impression=true

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