A football coach from Washington state who was fired in 2015 for praying with players on the field has lost yet another court battle.
Joe Kennedy, former head coach for the Bremerton High School football team, was suspended from his job several years ago after he refused to stop kneeling with some of his athletes for prayer sessions at the 50-yard line, a gesture he’d performed since 2008, according to a report from The Christian Post.
Over the years, Kennedy has received quite a bit of support, including from people like well-known retired football coach Bobby Bowden.
Nevertheless, on Thursday, Judge Ronald Leighton in Tacoma, Washington, awarded summary judgement to the Bremerton School District, preempting a legal campaign by Kennedy, who has argued he is the victim of religious discrimination.
“We are disappointed in this decision, but we are undeterred in our mission to obtain justice for Coach Kennedy,” said Mike Berry, general counsel for First Liberty Institute, the organization defending the former high school coach. “For almost five long years, Joe has had to miss coaching the game he loves. Joe has fought — first as a U.S. Marine, then as a coach — to prove that every American has the right to engage in individual religious expression, including praying in public, without fear of getting fired. He knows this fight isn’t over.”
In January, when President Donald Trump held an event reinforcing his administration’s commitment to defending prayer in public schools, the White House hosted Kennedy as a guest. At the event, Kennedy said to Trump, “t’s just so nice … having a president who has the guts to stand up for us.”
Trump, for his part, called him a “good coach.”