Former NFL Coach Sacked for Praying after Game gets Support

Joe Kennedy (Image credit: First Liberty)

Former Seattle-area football coach, Joe Kennedy, is getting massive support after he was fired for praying on the field after a game. Initially, he got support from the United States Supreme Court which stated the Washington school district acted unlawfully for firing him.

In addition, National Football League players, hall of famers and former coaches have rallied around Kennedy.

In the case Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, Kennedy is asking that the decision of a lower court which permitted the school to sack him because he was seen by fans and students kneeling and praying at the 50-yard line after football games be reversed.

Kelly Shackelford, president and chief counsel of the First Liberty, a Texas-based legal group, and Kennedy’s representative said, “We are grateful for the outpouring of support from every corner of America for Coach Kennedy to be able to pray, silently by himself on the 50-yard line after games.

“We are hopeful the Supreme Court will protect the right of every American to engage in private religious expression, including praying in public, without fear of getting fired.”

People who have supported Kennedy so far include, former and current NFL players including Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, hall of famers Darrell Green and Steve Largent, legendary football coach Tommy Bowden and his son, Bobby Bowden. 

Former college and NFL coach Lou Holtz, 56 members of Congress, six former U.S. attorneys general and 60 state legislators are among those also rallying behind Kennedy.

A brief which was signed by eight former and current NFL players says that they are strongly behind the protection for the First Amendment rights of both coaches and student athletes at public high schools and universities across the country.

The brief stated, “Each amicus attended and played football for at least one public high school or university before turning pro. Each amicus also voluntarily exercised his constitutional right to pray before, during, and after games in which he competed on behalf of such schools — at times alone, at times with other players, and at times with coaches.

“Each amicus thus has firsthand experience with the environment in which this case arose. And each amicus can testify firsthand to the power of prayer — in generating gratitude for the opportunity to play, promoting high ideals of sportsmanship, protecting the safety of those who take the field, bridging personal, political, and racial divides players and ultimately in glorifying God,” the brief stated.

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