Craig James, the ESPN analyst who threatened to sue Texas Tech if it didn't fire Mike Leach, will continue to have an active role in the network's college football telecasts this fall.
Norby Williamson, ESPN's vice president of production, told Richard Deitsch of SI.com that "Craig still has a connection with coaches and players and there is a trust element there."
As for the connection with viewers, that's another question.
Joe Cutbirth, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of British Columbia, wrote in January that ESPN "owes its viewers, Tech and frankly the journalism profession a look at its own ethical guidelines" after James' role in Leach's termination became public.
Williamson defended the network's stance and said that James' ability to be objective will not be compromised.
"I think this place is a big enterprise and we have our track record with journalism," he said. "I will not sit here and tell you that we have never made mistakes but I think we have a great track record. We do a lot of journalism and hardcore journalism with people we have rights agreement with. We have agreements with the NFL but I will put our body of work in journalism and investigations into the concussion syndrome, for example, against anyone in the industry. We have demonstrated we can manage those things."
He added: "I will tell you based on right now and everything we know, from talking to Craig extensively and what has been out there publicly and with the backdrop, that this thing is an ongoing thing. Craig's track record with us, his college football knowledge and TV experience, right now we are comfortable with Craig's ability to serve as a professional college football analyst and an objective college football analyst with the caveats of Texas Tech and certain targeted things that could be within the Big 12."
James talked about his dispute with Leach last month during a speaking engagement at a Dallas church. (Advance the video at the top of the post to the 14-minute mark.)
"I have felt strongly that we have been in a spiritual war for the past four months," he said. "Our faith, our christian family has sustained us. ... It's important to lead a godly life."
James has also floated the possibility of running for U.S. Senate when Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) steps down.
"I'm a Texan. I'm concerned for our country," he said. "I disagree with the approach that we're having, things that are taking place, and so whatever door opens up, I'll look at it, if and when it opens up."