Football coach, former Marine could be fired for leading players in prayer

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BREMERTON, Wash. – An investigation has been opened into the religious practices of a popular football coach in Washington.

Joe Kennedy is the junior varsity coach and assistant coach of Bremerton’s varsity football team.

Recently, he says he was told that he would be fired if he continued to lead his players in prayer on the 50-yard line following football games.

Sophomore quarterback Savante Perrigo says the prayers are voluntary and even remembers a time when one player told the coach he didn’t believe in God.

“He didn’t get punished for it. He just sat out and just waited for the rest of the team to finish the prayer,” Perrigo said.

Kennedy says he served with the United States Marine Corps. for 20 years to fight for citizens’ freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

“I’m just exercising my right,” Kennedy told KING. “The competition is over and I just thank God for every one of these young men that are out here.”

The district wouldn’t comment on the case, but district policy states that staff members cannot “encourage nor discourage” students from engaging in prayer.