A Fox television sports commentator has been sacked after appearing just once, after footage surfaced of him saying that being gay “is a choice”, and that gay people “will have to answer to the lord for their actions”;

Craig James, a former NFL tailback made the comments in a debate in Texas, during a failed attempt to run for the Senate last year.

The 52-year-old, who has previously worked on ESPN as a sportscaster, got the job at Fox a month ago, has had his contract cancelled “with immediate effect.

“People choose to be gay… I think its a choice, I do.” he said. “Same sex marriage, if someone chooses to do that, that’s done. And God’s going to judge each one of us in this room for our actions.”

He continued: “We should not give benefits to those civil unions They should not occur. We have to stay strong on this, this is important, man… I’ll tell you what, we have a fiscal issue in this country… we also have a moral issue in this country.”

Referring to the Boy Scouts of America’s recent decision to lift its ban on gay scouting members, James said: “And in that case right there, they’re going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions.”

In the video, his comments are met with applause from the audience.

“Craig James will not be making any further appearances on Fox Sports Southwest’s football coverage this season,” a Fox Sports spokesperson told Sports Illustrated.

Another Fox spokesman said: “We just asked ourselves how Craig’s statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn’t say those things here.”

James stepped down from his job at ESPN to run for the Senate, for the Republican party in 2012. The comments were made during a debate in April 2012, which was televised across the state of Texas.

On the appointment of James a month ago, executive producer Mike Anastassiou said: “We’re excited to add Craig to the FOX Sports Southwest team.

“He’s a talented broadcaster who I’ve admired throughout his career. His knowledge of college football and the experience he brings as an analyst will be a tremendous asset to our coverage.”

A video of the debate, uploaded by the Dallas Voice, is available to view below.