Joe Kennedy, the high school football coach who was previously fired for praying on the field and later won his case at the U.S. Supreme Court, has resigned after just one game back.
Kennedy was let go in 2015 because he prayed at the 50-yard line post-games. The Supreme Court ruled in 2022 that his dismissal was unjust, defending his right to religious expression. Although he was rehired at Bremerton High School in Washington, Kennedy has now stepped down, asserting that the district didn’t adhere to the Court’s decision and reduced his role as a form of payback.
“I’m done,” Kennedy said in an interview with the Seattle Times last week.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be a picnic and it wasn’t,” said Kennedy, adding that his “role and responsibilities” turned out to be non-existent during the first game of the season. “Not what I signed up for.”
In his official resignation letter, he called out the school and school district officials for ostracizing him as well as making it difficult to return to work after winning his landmark legal case.
“It is apparent that the reinstatement ordered by the Supreme Court will not be fully followed after a series of actions meant to diminish my role and single me out in what I can only believe is retaliation by the school district,” his letter stated.
Days after his team’s first game of the season, during which he resumed his 50-yard line prayer, the coach resigned. On Facebook, he celebrated his return to Bremerton High School and midfield prayer after an 8-year legal battle, ending with a Supreme Court win. He quoted 2 Timothy 4:7, highlighting that he “fought the good fight and finished the race.”
Kennedy isn’t disappearing though, stating that his new purpose is to fight for the religious freedom of others.
“I believe I can best continue to advocate for constitutional freedom and religious liberty by working from outside the school system, so that is what I will do,” he said. “I will continue to work to help people understand and embrace the historic ruling at the heart of our case. As a result of our case, we all have more freedom, not less. That should be celebrated and not disrespected.
“As I have demonstrated, we must make a stand for what we believe in. In my case, I made a stand to take a knee. I encourage all Americans to make their own stand for freedom and our right to express our faith as we see fit. I appreciate the people of Bremerton, the coaches, staff and especially the students and wish them all well. Bremerton will always be home.”
Are you surprised with how he was treated upon his return? Let us know in the comments below and across social media.
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