Football Coach Under Fire For Post-Game Prayer
As Christian coaches and athletes are becoming more open about their faith, this is also opening them up to more attacks from those who believe public expressions are, in some situations, unconstitutional.
This seems to be the case with Bremerton (WA) High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy. For years, he has been going to the 50-yard line after each game, taking a knee, and saying a brief prayer. But the school district is now investigating whether or not Kennedy is violating the policy that, according to a KING 5 news report states, “school staff shall neither encourage nor discourage” students from praying.
“I never asked anyone (to pray with me),” Kennedy said. “They just all showed up one day and the next thing I know, the other was showing up with us.”
After word spread about the investigation, many players, parents, students and others in the community began showing their support. Kennedy, who also serves as the school’s junior varsity head coach, has continued praying after the games, and the crowd that voluntarily joins him has been growing. Supporters have started a Facebook page and planned a rally that took place before one of the varsity squad’s home games.
Kennedy, a 20-year Marine Corps veteran, isn’t worried about any repercussions that may come his way.
“I don’t really worry about all that nonsense,” he said. “The only thing I worry about is the kids. It’s not about what my beliefs are; it’s about believing in each other. It’s about the sport that we love.
“I’m just exercising my right,” he added. “The game is over, and I just thank God for every one of these young men that are out here.”
In the forthcoming movie WOODLAWN, head coach Tandy Gerelds found himself in a similar situation. Group prayers with the football team and other religious activities became the center of a school district investigation and garnered intense pressure from the superintendent. But instead of caving in, Gereld made a bold move that inspired an entire city.
Just like Coach Kennedy in Bremerton and Coach Gerelds in Birmingham, you too can boldly stand up for your faith. Make plans to go see WOODLAWN when its hits theaters nationwide on October 16 and invite your friends and family to come with you.
And be part of a nationwide campaign to impact 1 million student-athletes with the film’s powerful and inspirational message. Click here learn more