Praying Football Coach Officially Right Back Where He Belongs After 7-Year Court Battle
Like any good sports movie, the harrowing tale of high school football coach Joseph Kennedy has seen its fair share of ups and downs.
But unlike many sports movies, this protagonist actually appears headed for a happy ending.
Kennedy and his entire ordeal garnered national attention in 2015, when the football coach refused to abandon his practice of a post-game prayer at the 50-yard line while leading the young men of the Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Washington.
For some reason that has still yet to be articulated effectively, Kennedy’s post-game prayers apparently ruffled the feathers of the school district, ultimately leading to Kennedy losing his job.
Sure, the school district argued that Kennedy’s post-game prayers violated the Constitution’s prohibition against government endorsement of religion, but anyone with two brain cells could see the cracks in that argument.
No student was being compelled to join the coach for prayer. In fact, even typically far-left ESPN admitted that “after a few games some of his players asked to join in.”
“I told them, ‘It’s a free country; this is America, you can do whatever you want,'” Kennedy told ESPN in 2022.
Well, according to the Bremerton School District, you cannot, in fact, “do whatever you want,” as evidenced by the ugly legal battle that followed Kennedy’s refusal to acquiesce his religious liberty.
The school forcibly removed Kennedy from his position, the coach sued the school board, and a seven-year legal battle only just recently ended after the Supreme Court stepped in.
“The Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment protect an individual engaging in a personal religious observance from government reprisal,” the SCOTUS ruling stated, “the Constitution neither mandates nor permits the government to suppress such religious expression.”
Well, that’s pretty cut and dry, isn’t it?
Kennedy, now armed with a winning ruling from the highest court in the lands, could finally put that seven-year saga behind him. The embattled coach could return to Washington, after a brief retreat to Florida, knowing that he could continue coaching and continue praying.
The school district provided an update to The Washington Times via a statement that, not only would Kennedy be returning for the 2023 season as an assistant coach, the school may pay out $1.77 million in legal fees.
A representative also told The Times that a new contract for the newly minted assistant coach had not been approved yet.
“Football coach contracts are approved by the Board at the August 3 board meeting, and begin in mid-August. As with any other assistant coach, Mr. Kennedy will be included in coaching staff communication and meetings, spring football practice and other off-season football activities,” the representative said.
Kennedy’s triumphant return to the sidelines of Washington state high school football isn’t the only story of religious freedom triumphing on the gridiron.
A remarkably similar victory lap is taking place in Boulder, Colorado, where CU Boulder football coach Deion Sanders has apparently thumbed his nose at a complaint filed by the ironically named Freedom From Religious Foundation over remarkably similar allegations.
Based on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Coach Kennedy, things are looking remarkably good for Coach Sanders, as well.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.