‘Praying Coach’ Joe Kennedy Gets a NFL Hall of Fame Supporter

Washington State Rep. Jesse Young (Mid-left, tan jacket) praying with coach Joe Kennedy at a recent Bremerton High School football game

Steve Largent was an underdog, an undersized wide receiver with slow wheels, who retired in 1989 with more receptions, yards, and touchdowns than any NFL receiver before him as an original member of the Seattle Seahawks.

Joe Kennedy is known as the “praying coach,” the high school football coach under fire for  — aghast — the “thought crime” of praying with players (voluntarily), sometimes from both teams, on the 50-yard-line following games. Kennedy was recently put on leave for refusing to bow to the false progressive god of political correctness — he won’t back down.

Largent, who became a popular congressman following his amazing NFL career, came out strongly last week in favor of Kennedy, a 20-year Marine veteran, in an op-ed written in the Seattle Times.

As he explained in the recent A Football Life on the NFL Network, Largent’s father left his family while he was a young boy and he grew up fatherless, which makes his success even more compelling. Largent, a strong Christian, says that Bremerton High School’s Joe Kennedy is precisely the type of role model children need and exactly the kind of coach that got him through his difficult childhood.

“He is the kind of man who not only cares about his players because that’s what coaches are supposed to do, but because he has seen tough times as a teenager in Bremerton himself. He celebrates and loves his players the way we would hope all coaches do, but far exceeds that standard.”

Steve Largent wrote that he is dismayed that Coach Kennedy has been banned from working with the players because of prayer, something he has done for the past seven years without any outrage.

“That is why I am troubled that Kennedy is banned from working with those young men because he is exactly the kind of coach I once so desperately needed and these young men need today.

Going further, I am troubled that Kennedy is suspended from duty because he made the decision to pray.

When I learned of Kennedy’s suspension, I was baffled. We have a coach that seven years ago knelt down after the game and quietly thanked his Creator for the safety of his players. It was not mandatory; in fact no one was invited to pray with him. Soon players of no faith and different faiths asked to join him as they walked off the field, to which he would reply, ‘It’s a free country.'”

Largent goes on to say that this is supposed to be a “free country” and that no one is being pressured or forced to pray with Joe Kennedy after the game. He refers to Coach Kennedy as a “model man” who should be “celebrated,” and is someone who shouldn’t have to “hide who he is and what he believes.

Moreover, Largent asserted that he wouldn’t have had the success and fulfillment he’s enjoyed in life without the influence of the “Joe Kennedys of the coaching world,” and that his prayer is that the Bremerton School District would come to their senses and immediately reinstate Coach Joe Kennedy:

“If it weren’t for the Joe Kennedys of the coaching world, I wouldn’t have become the man I am today, played for the Seahawks, and certainly would not have made it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The young men on the Bremerton High football team need their coach back. The Bremerton School District should immediately reinstate their coach and role model.

That’s my prayer.”

Coach Kennedy has also received fervent support from some members of the Washington state legislature, like Rep. Jesse Young and Rep. Graham Hunt.

RELATED: Ted Cruz Warns at Rally for Religious Liberty: We are One Justice Away from Supreme Court Saying ‘Every Image of God Shall be Torn Down, Thus Sayeth Man!’

Rep. Jesse Young, who is planning to introduce legislation to deal with the matter, and who has requested to meet with school officials, wrote on Facebook that Coach Kennedy’s First Amendment rights are being trampled upon:

“I am deeply disappointed that the Bremerton School District has decided to not only trample on Coach Kennedy’s (and others) 1st Amendment rights, but also play political gamesmanship with their duty to follow the law by placing coach Joe Kennedy on administrative leave for his legal actions. It is also extremely concerning that they’ve attempted to justify their actions under the notion that they are seeking to limit legal liability while very hypocritically choosing the one course of action that almost exclusively guarantees a lawsuit.

The first amendment guarantees the right of all Americans to freely exercise their faith without government interference. I will continue to defend the U.S. Constitution and those who abide by it, and urge the school district to reconsider its decision.”

Coach Joe Kennedy (R) with Washington state Rep. Jesse Young

Coach Joe Kennedy (R) with Washington state Rep. Jesse Young (L)

Rep. Graham Hunt issued a statement quoting from the Washington State Constitution guaranteeing the right to free religious expression and stated that Kennedy deserves support instead of punishment:

“It is unconscionable to me that coach Kennedy has been put on administrative leave for praying at the 50-yard line following the conclusion of football games.

The First Amendment does not limit your right to religious liberty based on employment, between certain hours, or under particular circumstances. In fact, special accommodations are made for religious liberty at every level of government.

Additionally, Article 1, Section 11 and Article 26 of the Washington State Constitution guarantee the right to free religious expression as long as the “peace and safety of the state” is not disturbed. Coach Kennedy praying silently at the 50-yard line surely doesn’t violate our state’s constitution, nor the constitution of the United States.

Mr. Kennedy has never forced his religious beliefs on anyone while serving as assistant coach, and he deserves our support rather than punishment for a private prayer of thanks for the young men he has chosen to lead.”

The USSR-style attack on Coach Joe Kennedy’s religious liberty, an act of tyranny that must have the Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves, has also caught the attention of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, who has been championing the cause of religious liberty and fighting the Obama Regime’s War on Christians.

Cruz posted on Facebook last month that, “Sadly, the persecution of religious liberty has found its way to the 50-yard line at Bremerton High School.”

Ted Cruz Joe Kennedy

Coach Joe Kennedy will be joining Ted Cruz and others at a South Carolina Rally for Religious Liberty on November 14.

Coach Kennedy is being provided legal representation by the Liberty Institute, where you can read more details about his case against the school for discriminating against him.

A Facebook page has been established in support of Coach Joe Kennedy and has almost 20,000 followers as of this writing. Social media posts in support of the praying coach often include the hashtag, #SupportCoachKennedy.

About the Author

Matthew K. Burke
Matthew K. Burke
A former Washington State U.S. Congressional candidate in 2010, Matthew attended the nation’s first modern day Tea Party in 2009 in Seattle, Washington. He also began writing and blogging that year. Matthew became a Certified Financial Planner in 1995 and was a Financial Advisor for 24 years in his previous life. Matthew was one of the three main writers leading a conservative news site to be one of the top 15 conservative news sites in the U.S. in a matter of months. He brings to PolitiStick a vast amount of knowledge about economics as well as a passion and commitment to the vision that our Founding Fathers had for our Republic.

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