ESPN: “No Intention Of Bringing Back” James

Immediately after Craig James announced last December that he had decided to run for statewide political office in Texas, SbB reported via multiple sources that James was not likely to return as an ESPN college football announcer for the 2012 season.

Craig James out at ESPN: Guns UP

In a brief statement to SbB today, ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz essentially eliminated the prospect of James returning to the network.

ESPN’s Krulewitz: “We have no intention of bringing Craig James back in the future.”

Thus ends the second tenure of James at ESPN, which began in 2003. James, whose ESPN contract expires before the 2012 football season, also worked for ESPN in the early ’90s following his NFL playing career.

Today’s ESPN announcement comes as the network prepares to defend itself against a defamation lawsuit filed by Mike Leach against the network last November. The lawsuit also targets James and Dallas-based public relations firm Spaeth Communications by name.

While ESPN, obviously, will not confirm that the now-official departure of James from the network was related to the Leach litigation, it isn’t unreasonable to think that it may have been a factor.

That isn’t necessarily a given though, considering that Leach’s lawsuit, filed against ESPN and James on Nov. 24, 2010, did not deter ESPN from having James work the 2011 season for the network.

Krulewitz also told SbB today that any comments recently made by James on the U.S. Senate campaign trail in Texas, including his recent comments addressing gays, were unrelated to the timing of today’s statement. (Which was in response to a query lodged by SbB to ESPN three days ago - and unrelated to James’ comments about gays - regarding the future of James at the network.)

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Tx Tech: Craig James “Threatened” To Sue School

An open request record filed by the LUBBOCK AVALANCHE-JOURNAL unearthed a bombshell involving Craig James and Texas Tech attorneys.

Mike Leach accused Craig James of making inappropriate calls to his coaching staff

(Tech lawyers blaming investigation on James to keep Leach records seal)

A-J reporter Matthew McGowan notes this week that as part of an appeal to thwart the newspaper’s request for records involving the Leach investigation, Tech attorneys stated, “Craig James threatened on Dec. 20 to sue the university if it did not investigate the actions of then-head football coach Mike Leach.

More of the plea from Tech to the Texas Attorney General: “The threat did not appear to be an idle threat as the parent expressed genuine concern for the health and well-being of his injured child, as well as other student-athletes.

Tech attorneys are trying to keep all records sealed within the university as it pertains to the Leach investigation, but in the process of trying to keep those secrets, university lawyers tipped off just how much influence Craig James was trying to exert over the Texas Tech football program - and Leach himself.

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