BREMERTON, Wash. — The Bremerton School District is investigating a football coach for praying after high school football games. District policy states “school staff shall neither encourage nor discourage” students from praying.
Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy, who is still coaching, said he always prays after games on the 50-yard line. He said sometimes he’s alone, sometimes players join him.
“I never asked anyone,” Kennedy said. “They just all showed up one day and the next thing I know, the other team was showing up with us.”
KING 5 spoke to Kennedy at Monday’s JV football game, He’s the assistant head coach for Bremerton High’s varsity team and the head coach for the JV squad. After Monday’s game, Kennedy still prayed on the field, and a large crowd made up of players and parents from both Bremerton and its opponent took part.
“I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, and it’s been about protecting the freedom of other people,” he said. “It’s about the freedom, and people can believe whatever they want. I’m just exercising my right. The game is over, and I just thank god for every one of these young men that are out here.”
It’s not yet clear what promoted the district investigation, but many in the stands at Monday’s game assumed it came as the result of a complaint or concern about the separation of church and state.