A former Washington state coach and veteran who served 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe Kennedy, is no stranger to religious discrimination.
As the clock ran down at the end of his team’s homecoming game back in 2015, Kennedy took a knee to pray. As he did so and spectators stormed the field, his team gathered around him and got to their knees as well.
For many, it was a beautiful moment. But rather than congratulations to the coach on a job well done, he was fired.
Six years later, Kennedy took his case to the U.S. Supreme Court, where he argued that the Bremerton School District violated his First Amendment rights.
He won the case, and the school re-hired him.
However, it hasn’t been without punishment, and he has now retired.
Coach Kennedy and his attorney Michael Berry of the First Liberty Institute joined Glenn Beck to discuss Kennedy’s story and why he chose to retire instead of waiting to get fired again.
Berry explains that Kennedy is “probably too humble to admit” that even though they pulled off a historic Supreme Court victory as well as a court order directing Bremerton School District that it cannot retaliate against him in any way, the district did so anyway.
According to Berry, administrators refused to issue Kennedy a coach’s locker, wouldn’t issue him a coach’s shirt like all the other coaches received, wouldn’t list him on the athletic department website, and refused to list him on the coaching roster for the game.
They also refused to issue him a play card before the game.
“They ostracized him, they made him out to be a pariah. They wouldn’t even let him participate in the traditional pregame meal with, you know, the opposing team coaches,” Berry continues.
“We’re still investigating,” Berry says, adding that “they may even have directed the players to stay away from him during the game and not have anything to do with him. So, really poisoning the well, you know.”
While Kennedy tells Glenn that he was expecting the retaliation, Glenn is shocked that the school did retaliate, considering that it’s against the law.
First Liberty Institute is investigating to see if administrators were retaliating, and if so, the organization is prepared to do what it can to fight for Kennedy again.
“We’re prepared to do what we need to do, you know, if we need to suit up again with Coach,” Berry tells Glenn.
Berry explains that as a Marine himself, he always has Kennedy’s back, adding that Marines “don’t fight alone.”
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