Cris Carter, co-host of First Things First on FS1, has reportedly been suspended by FOX pending an investigation, two sources have told The Big Lead. This news comes on the heels of Carter being absent from the program on Thursday, Friday, and Monday. There is currently no timetable for his return.
According to the report, the nature of the investigation is unclear at the moment. Some sources have said Carter had a "big blowup" with executives at FOX over him not being included in the Thursday or Sunday NFL coverage.
Instead of turning to Carter, the FOX executives have relied on the recently-retired Rob Gronkowski and former Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez to enhance the coverage.
"I was told it was bad," one source said about the alleged blowup between Carter and his bosses, according to Front Office Sports.
FOX's Sunday show, on the other hand, has relied on the longtime cast that features Terry Bradshaw, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Strahan, Howie Long, and Curt Menefee. Carter has not appeared on either platform to preview upcoming games despite being listed as "NFL analyst" on his network bio.
In his absence, co-hosts Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe have been joined by former New York Giants defensive lineman and Super Bowl champion Chris Canty. Neither host addressed Carter's absence from the program while discussing the top sports stories from the week.
Following a 16-year career spent mostly with the Minnesota Vikings, Carter joined HBO Sports' Inside the NFL in 2002. He then moved to ESPN in 2008. During this time, he was a mainstay on Sunday morning and Monday night countdown shows. First Things First, which is filmed in the same location as FOX'sThursday Night Football show, originally launched on FS1 in 2017. Although Carter has been with FOX since December 2016.
This is not the first time that Carter has made headlines due to potential controversy. Back in 2014, he was filmed at the annual rookie symposium telling NFL newcomers that they needed a "fall guy" that could take the blame in case they had a run-in with authorities. Carter later apologized for this speech.0comments
"Seeing that video has made me realize how wrong I was," Carter wrote according to Sports Illustrated. "I was brought there to educate young people and instead I gave them very bad advice. Every person should take responsibility for his own actions. I'm sorry and I truly regret what I said that day."
Following news of the suspension, Carter could not be reached while FOX declined to comment.