Coach Joe Kennedy Returns to Football Field After Winning 7-Year Legal Battle Over Prayer

  • Post category:News / US News

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After a seven-year battle in the courts that ended with a victory at the Supreme Court, Joe Kennedy will be back on the field Sept. 1, coaching football and taking a knee in prayer.  

“I have been looking forward to this since the 2015 season,” Kennedy told The Daily Signal in an interview Tuesday. “I am praying for a fantastic fall for our Knights.”

In 2015, Kennedy lost his job as an assistant high school football coach in Bremerton, Washington, about 30 miles west of Seattle, for routinely and publicly taking a knee in prayer after games. 

From the time he began coaching at Bremerton High School in 2008, the Marine veteran said, he made a covenant with God to thank him in prayer at the 50-yard line at the end of every game the Knights played. Team members joined him, and no student or parent filed a formal complaint about the practice. 

When the Bremerton School District learned of Kennedy’s prayer routine, however, it told the coach that he no longer could pray after games, even by himself. But Kennedy kept his covenant with God, a decision that cost him his job.   

The football coach, deciding to fight back, filed a lawsuit. The Supreme Court, which heard arguments in Kennedy’s case, ruled in his favor in June 2022. 

From the start of the legal battle, Kennedy said, he was asking only for a chance to return to the football field as a coach and be allowed to thank God afterward. Now, Kennedy will have that opportunity. 

“All Coach [Kennedy] ever wanted was to be able to kneel in prayer after football games,” Hiram Sasser, executive general counsel for First Liberty Institute, the nonprofit legal organization that represented the coach, told The Daily Signal.

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“We’re thrilled he will be able to do so again,” Sasser said, adding that Kennedy’s Supreme Court victory “is important to all Americans.”

On Sept. 1, Kennedy said, he invites all Americans to join him and take a knee to help celebrate a national night of prayer.

Kennedy’s story of faith and determination captured the attention of the nation and compelled the football coach to write a book sharing his story and explaining why he chose to spend years in and out of courtrooms. His book “Average Joe: The Coach Joe Kennedy Story” is due out Oct. 24. 

“Those prayers I prayed on the 50-yard line after the Bremerton High School football games were never for attention, and certainly never to proselytize impressionable minors,” Kennedy writes. “As a 20-year Marine Corps veteran who fought in the first Gulf War, I simply took issue with my constitutional rights being assaulted—the rights I had risked my life to support and defend against when I took my oath of enlistment.”

In the book, Kennedy also details little-known stories about his own troubled youth and his service in the Marine Corps. 

A movie about Kennedy’s life, also called “Average Joe,” is in production by GND Media Group, the company behind the popular movie “God’s Not Dead.” A release date has not been announced. 

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The post Coach Joe Kennedy Returns to Football Field After Winning 7-Year Legal Battle Over Prayer appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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