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Football coach who won Supreme Court case to pray on field returns for first game since 2015

Bremerton High School coach Joe Kennedy lost his job in 2015; Supreme Court held in 2022 his practices protected by Constitution

Published: September 1, 2023 8:25am

Updated: September 1, 2023 8:28am

The assistant high school football coach in Washington state who lost his job over praying on field with his players after games on Friday night is back on the sideline for the first time since 2015

After Bremerton High School coach Joe Kennedy lost his job over the controversy, the Supreme Court held in 2022 that his practice was protected by the Constitution.

Now, after fighting seven years to be rehired, Kennedy says he's now unsure about whether he still wants the job and that he's uneasy about resuming the post-game prayer, according to the Associated Press

“Knowing that everybody’s expecting me to go do this kind of gives me a lot of angst in my stomach,” he told the wire. “People are going to freak out that I’m bringing God back into public schools.”

The school district placed Kennedy on leave and eventually declined to renew his contract, amid concerned that tolerating his public post-game prayers would suggest government endorsement of religion, in violation of the separation of church and state, the wire service also reports.

He lost at every court level until the merits of his case until last year when the Supreme Court 's conservative majority sided with him. Along the way, Kennedy appeared at a 2016 rally for Donald Trump.

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