Famed Football Coach Kennedy Resigns Post Supreme Court Prayer Victory

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Renowned high school football coach Joe Kennedy from Washington state, who gained nationwide attention in 2022 after successfully winning a Supreme Court case over praying mid-field, post games, has elected to vacate his position. The highly-publicized case revealed that his First Amendment rights had been breached by the Bremerton School District, as the court emphasized that prayer was a form of private speech which could not be confined by the school district.

Kennedy broadcasted his resignation through his personal website on Wednesday. His decision comes as a result of multiple factors, including the need to provide care for a sick family member residing in a different state.

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Conveying his aspirations for the future, Kennedy expressed, “I think I can effectively continue to stand up for constitutional freedom and religious liberty from outside the confines of the school system. As such, that will be my new path. My efforts will be concentrated on helping people comprehend and appreciate the significant ruling underlying our case. This ruling has increased our freedom, and that is something to be revered and not dismissed.”

Kennedy further expressed his sentiments, “As I have exemplified, it is essential for us to stand firm for our beliefs. In my case, it was taking a knee in prayer. I impel all Americans to make their unique stand for freedom and for our right to express our faith as we deem appropriate.”

Following his resignation, the Bremerton School District acknowledged the event with a statement on Wednesday. The statement read, “The District has received Mr. Kennedy’s resignation and it is pending board approval at tomorrow’s routinely scheduled meeting. The District does not comment on personnel matters, so we will not be issuing any further statements.”

According to First Liberty Institute, the organization that represented Kennedy, he had managed just one game prior to his abrupt decision to resign. His case succeeded in the Supreme Court following a 6-3 vote dictated by conservative-liberal ideological lines.

Kennedy’s journey with the post-game prayer ritual began soon after his appointment in 2008. However, concerns arose within the district when Kennedy’s brief, silent prayers started expanding in 2015, drawing players to join him on the field, even as the crowd remained in the bleachers. The school district insists it never hampered Kennedy from offering silent, private prayers, and had alternatively proposed a place off the football field where he could conduct his prayers following the games. Kennedy pertinaciously rejected the proposed accommodation and found himself placed eventually on paid administrative leave, with subsequent suspension from the program.

Despite receiving a poor performance evaluation at season’s end, Kennedy didn’t seek a new contract. Instead, he chose to file a suit, claiming that the school district breached his First Amendment rights.