Say what you will about Craig James—and I'm about to—he's become a polarizing figure amongst college football fans to be sure.
James will seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in his home state of Texas.
James is in many ways tailor-made for politics.
During his college days at Southern Methodist University in Texas where James was a star running back, the football team was embroiled in scandal stemming from payment of players. The scandal resulted in the NCAA handing out the "death penalty" to the school canceling the entire 1987 season among other restrictions.
James has denied any direct involvement, though he did say in his book, "Gameday,":
"I'm not going to sit here and tell you I never received a nickel during my playing days. But I can say with certainty that no benefits were ever extended to me from anyone associated with the SMU administration."
The implication being that he may have gotten paid, but dadgummit it was from a booster the good old fashioned way.
Speaking of boosters, James has had a cozy relationship with Sherwood Blount, one of the key boosters in the SMU scandal. James made him his agent and Blount represented him throughout his pro football career.
Not weird at all *wink*.
More recently of course, James and his concussed son Adam got Texas Tech head football coach and Pirate enthusiast Mike Leach fired.
The James' claimed that Leach placed Adam in an electrical "closet" during football practice when he exhibited post-concussion symptoms.
James hired a public relations firm prior to making the accusations public, then used his position at ESPN to get loads of prime pulpit time to get his message out.
A lawsuit filed by Leach against the university alleges that Adam James, "voluntarily placed himself into the electrical closet and apparently took pictures with his phone camera."
Leach has since filed a lawsuit against James relating to public defamation from the incident.
James' personality has always rubbed me the wrong way. He appears to be overly confident and sure of himself, qualities that no doubt served him well as a running back, but don't endear you to television viewers.
The Craig James School of Broadcasting (No seriously, he founded a broadcasting school with that title. How cocky is that?) tells you to be full of yourself and to assume no one knows of your past accomplishments, so you must remind them.
So, James has controversy in his past, has dealings with shady money and knows how to use a PR firm to shape his message. His son appears to have a sense of entitlement, and he owns at least one cowboy hat.
In other words, I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone more suited to be a politician in my life.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm pleased to introduce the next Senator from Texas.