Football Coach Who Won Landmark Court Case On Public Prayer Resigns

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Kate Anderson Contributor
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Joe Kennedy resigned from his position as assistant football coach at Bremerton High School on Wednesday after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in June 2022 allowed him to pray on the football field, according to Kennedy’s website.

Kennedy coached his first game since 2015 on Sept. 1 after he was suspended for refusing to stop praying on the field after each game. He had expressed before the game that he was unsure how long he would stay on as a coach and ultimately offered his resignation this week, citing the ailing health of a family member out of state and a desire to become an advocate for religious freedom, according to a statement from Kennedy’s website. (RELATED: Coach At Center Of Religious Supreme Court Victory Says He Has ‘A Lot Of Angst’ About Returning To The Field)

“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,” Kennedy wrote. “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.”

The school district confirmed Kennedy’s resignation in a statement, noting that it was still pending board approval on Thursday but that the district otherwise does not “comment on personnel matters” and that they “will not be issuing any further statements,” according to the district’s website.

Kennedy concluded his statement by saying that all Americans should “make their own stand for freedom” and that “Bremerton will always be home” for him, according to his website.

“As I have demonstrated, we must make a stand for what we believe in,” Kennedy wrote. “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.”

The coach’s case came under the national spotlight after he sued the district for refusing to renew his contract over his religious convictions. After a series of losses in the lower courts, the Supreme Court determined that the district had been deprived of his First Amendment right to prayer, and in November 2022 the district court ordered Bremerton to pay Kennedy $2 million as restitution and reinstate his job.

Kennedy and Bremerton did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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