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Football Coach Fired For Praying Gets Last Laugh, Given Nearly $2 Million In Settlement

Joe Kennedy, the high school football coach fired for praying at games, cashed in and reached a massive $2 million settlement with the school board and will be reinstated as a coach.

The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in Kennedy’s favor in August 2022. A court ruled in October 2022 that the Bremerton School District in Washington State must hire him back by March 2023.

“Mr. Kennedy will be an assistant football coach for Bremerton High School for the 2023 season. Mr. Kennedy has completed human resources paperwork and we are awaiting the results of his fingerprinting and background check. Mr. Kennedy will need to complete all training required by WIAA,” the district said.

“As with any other assistant coach, Mr. Kennedy will be included in coaching staff communication and meetings, spring football practice and other off-season football activities.”

“We are thrilled that Bremerton and Coach Kennedy are back together and we hope they go undefeated,” Hiram Sasser, executive general counsel at First Liberty Institute, a legal organization representing Kennedy, said.

According to The Seattle Times:

The Bremerton School Board voted Thursday to accept a nearly $2 million settlement with Joseph Kennedy, a high school assistant football coach who was placed on leave in 2015 for praying on the field with players.

The district said last week it had reach an agreement to settle a claim for Kennedy’s attorney fees for $1,775,000.

According to Fox13:

Kennedy, a Christian, was a former football coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Washington. 

He started coaching at the school in 2008 and initially prayed alone on the 50-yard line at the end of games. Students started joining him, and over time he began to deliver a short, inspirational talk with religious references. 

Kennedy did that for years and also led students in locker room prayers. The school district learned what he was doing in 2015 and asked him to stop.

Kennedy stopped leading students in prayer in the locker room and on the field but wanted to continue praying on the field himself, with students free to join if they wished. 

Concerned about being sued for violating students’ religious freedom rights, the school asked him to stop his practice of kneeling and praying while still “on duty” as a coach after the game. When he continued to kneel and pray on the field, the school put him on paid leave.


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