James, 49, an analyst on Thursday night and Saturday afternoon telecasts on ESPN/ABC, is in his second tour of duty with the network. He was a studio analyst in the early 1990s before leaving in 1996 for an expanded role with CBS.
He returned in 2004 and although his work is generally praised, James' reputation — along with that of the network — was tarnished when he became involved in a controversy involving his son, Adam, and Texas Tech coach Mike Leach.
Adam, a receiver on the Red Raider team, was recovering from a concussion last season when Leach reportedly confined him in a shed for two hours during practice after suspecting the player was exaggerating his injury.
James complained to Texas Tech officials and reportedly threatened to sue the university. Leach, who called James "a Little League dad," was eventually suspended and then fired before the team played in the Alamo Bowl.
James Cutbirth, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of British Columbia, wrote a piece for Huffington Post that was critical of the analyst and ESPN:
"Craig James has every right to be a pestering football dad, as obnoxious as that may be. However, if he wants to exercise that right, he owes it to his network and the reputations of other reporters who work there to move into a job that doesn't have these ethical temptations or create the appearance of impropriety."
ESPN ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer wrote a lengthy piece about James and the network that the analyst dragged into the fray. He ended it with this: "As ESPN grows, so will the conflicts. All the policies in the world won't cover the potential scenarios. The company needs to develop a hypersensitivity to such developments. News decisions in these cases must not be resolved by asking 'What's permissible for the employee?' but rather 'What's fair to the audience?' "
James also has an interest in politics. A native Texan, he considered running as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate and is a board member of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank.
So there you have it. Do you like Craig James? Do you not like Craig James. Fire away!