Praying Coach Says District Stalling on Reinstatement After SCOTUS Ruling

Andy Berg Headshot

Bremerton (Wash.) High School football coach Joe Kennedy, who was fired for praying on the football field with his players, claims the school district is dragging its feet in reinstating him after the U.S. Supreme Court codified his right to religious liberty. 

In an op-ed on Fox News, Kennedy said that he has been "fighting to get back to my guys" for the last 2,436 days. 

Framing his recent legal case as a "fight," Kennedy wrote that he worried about what would happen if he lost. 

"Not only would that mean I would never be back on the football field, but it meant that my case might mean other coaches and teachers could lose their job," he wrote. "Worse, a small part of the Constitution I swore to defend in the U.S. Marine Corps would be weakened, not because of a fight I lost on the battlefield, but in a courtroom."

Related: Behind the Supreme Court's Decision in the First Amendment Case Involving Football Coach Joseph Kennedy's Postgame Prayers

However, Kennedy's argument prevailed in court, and he says it's not time for the school district to get him back on the sidelines. 

"I want to resolve this as soon as possible, but the district — after two months of refusing to meet face-to-face and having to be ordered by the judge to meet with us — still has not identified anyone in the district who is authorized to resolve the remaining issues and get me back on the sideline," he wrote.  

The district claims that Kennedy's attorneys have failed to their letters seeking resolution. 

"(The district) will of course abide by the district court's order to talk with Kennedy and his lawyers," wrote the school district's attorneys. "For that process to be productive, Kennedy and his lawyers would need to identify what issues, if any, remain in dispute."

Kennedy is hoping things will be resolved by next year, as he doesn't want to enter the season after its already started. 

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