Coach in SCOTUS prayer case returning for 2023 season

(NewsNation) — After losing his job over praying on the field after games, assistant high school football coach Joe Kennedy will return to his old district in Washington for the 2023 season.

The Seattle Times reports that the Bremerton School Board voted Thursday to accept a $1.7 million settlement with Kennedy, who was placed on leave in 2015 for praying with players after games. Bremerton’s school board, according to the newspaper, had already announced Kennedy will resume his old coaching role for the upcoming football season.

This comes after a case that went to the Supreme Court. Justices, in a 6-3 decision, ruled in Kennedy’s favor, saying his prayer was protected by the First Amendment.

Now, with his paperwork done, Kennedy said on “Morning in America” that he is just waiting for the head coach to tell him what this upcoming football season is going to look like.

“We’ve been in contact and emailing,” he said Friday.

Kennedy anticipates his official return is going to be “very awkward at first.”

“I’m going to just do whatever’s best for the team,” Kennedy said. “So if I’m there for a day, week or season, it’s all up to the football team, and what’s going to be best for the Bremerton Knights.”

The Bremerton School District said on its website that it will not be doing media interviews at this time, but has said in a previous statement that it will “fully comply with the court’s order.”

“The District remains steadfast in its commitment to respecting the rights and religious freedom of students, families, and school staff, and to keeping football games, and all school events, safe for the students we serve,” the statement said.

Bolstered by his victory in the Supreme Court, Kennedy, who has a book coming out, says he now wants to go around the country to encourage having a moment of silence in schools.

The way the Supreme Court ruled really opened up discussion on “what the First Amendment really means,” Kennedy said.

“They clarified that the First Amendment, with the freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and the free exercise, all these, they work together,” he said. “They’re not meant to work apart from each other.”


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