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Green Country football coach responds to high court siding with coaches praying with players

Posted at 10:12 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-28 09:36:52-04

TULSA, Okla. — This morning, the supreme court sided in favor of a Washington State high school football coach who was fired in 2015 for praying on the field after football games. On Monday, the high court ruled six-to-three saying the district violated the coach's first amendment rights.

The Supreme Court says coach Joseph Kennedy of Bremerton High School practiced what is considered “private speech” which they say is protected by the first amendment.

However, those who disagree with the court’s decision argue players might feel pressured into praying even if they didn’t want to.

“I think it’s a part of it, ya know,” football coach for Collinsville high school, Kevin Jones said.

Coach Jones is among dozens of coaches in the area who’ve made it a habit by praying with their players either before or after football games. Coach Jones leads his team in prayer before every game. He also has an elected player, usually a senior, to lead in prayer after the game.

“It’s kind of an honor, we call him the chaplain,” Coach Jones said.

The thought of being fired for praying with players is shocking to coach Jones.

“At most, I could possibly see having a meeting and saying that it might not be the best thing to do… But to actually fire a coach, it’s extreme in my opinion,” coach Jones said.

In coach Warren’s case, the Supreme Court was challenged with finding a way he could practice his first amendment right while also finding a way students don’t feel pressured into participating in religious practices.

Coach Jones says that’s something he aims to be mindful of. He also says that he would welcome players with non-christian beliefs.

“I would have no problem whats-so-ever. I would have a lot of respect for that honestly,” Coach Jones said.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor was among those voting against the coach. She says it “elevates one individual's interest in personal religious exercise, in the exact time and place of that individual's choosing, over society's interest in protecting the separation between church and state."

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