This high school football coach was told he couldn’t pray with his team, but his team wasn’t going to have it.
Bremerton, Wash. — Assistant Coach Joe Kennedy had just finished shaking — after a tough homecoming loss for his team — when he dropped to his knees and began to pray.
He meant for the moment to be somewhat private, with all the kids around not realizing it was happening, but the players visiting from Centralia had another idea in mind.
They knelt down around him as a sign of solidarity.
“All of a sudden I feel all these bodies around me and I’m hoping they’re not kids,” Kennedy said in tears after the game.
Kennedy is now represented by Liberty Institute, a religious rights group, which on Wednesday sent a letter to the Bremerton School District requesting administrators rescind their directive against the prayers.
In September, district officials sent Kennedy a letter raising concerns about his tradition of pregame prayers in the locker room and postgame prayers at the 50 yard line.
Superintendent Aaron Leavell wrote that while participation in the prayers was voluntary, “both activities would very likely be found to violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, exposing the district to significant risk of liability.”
Read more: KIRO TV