PolitiFact: Sen. Lankford's NFL protest statement 'half true'

Posted at 11:20 AM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 13:32:24-04

2 Works for You is teaming up with PolitiFact and dissecting statements made by politicians.
At a press conference in Washington D.C. last week, Sen. James Lankford said, "We do have high school coaches who have kneeled in silent prayer and have been fired. Now, the First Amendment's the First Amendment. It goes start to finish. We can't say to one football coach, you're fired if you kneel in silent prayer at the end of the game, but to a player, if you kneel in protest at a game, you're celebrated."
There is one case that fits that description, but it's technically wrong to say the coach in question was actually fired.
Lankford was referring to Joseph Kennedy, an assistant football coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Washington.
Kennedy allegedly led students in locker room prayers before and after most games and prayed on the 50-yard line after games.
When it came time for Kennedy's annual review, the athletic director recommended that Kennedy not be rehired because he "failed to follow district policy."        
After his contract expired, the district opened up Kennedy's position and he did not reapply.
We reached out to Sen. Lankford’s office, and they did not provide additional examples that fit the description of his claim.
We rate Lankford's statement "half true."
If there are statements by politicians you want us to look into, email

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