Comeback Coach

Coach Kennedy’s Case Headed to U.S. Supreme Court

If there’s someone who knows how to fight for what you believe in, it’s Coach Joe. He is a man of heroic persistence and courage—willing to stand his ground even after being fired for simply kneeling in brief, quiet and personal prayer. And although the courts have continued to deny his constitutional rights, Coach Joe—a former Marine—isn’t backing down anytime soon. In fact, he’s just getting warmed up. Join Team Kennedy today to stand up for the freedom to live out your faith.

It Started With a Prayer

In 2008, Bremerton High School football coach Joe Kennedy made a promise to God that he would pray and give thanks after each game he coached, regardless of the outcome. This commitment to a simple, private act of worship caused him to be stripped of his position as a coach and forced into a lengthy, ongoing legal battle against the school he faithfully served.

However, Coach Kennedy’s story is not over yet. With the support of 21 State Attorneys General, 4 Supreme Court justices, and legendary football names like Tony Dungy and Steve Largent—the momentum is all on Coach’s side. But his team still isn’t complete without you. We need your support to make sure Coach Kennedy is able to complete his comeback victory, and protect the freedom of all Americans to live out their faith.

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*If contributions exceed the immediate needs of a specific project or case, First Liberty may redirect funds at its discretion to provide support for other religious liberty matters.


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This Marine Won’t Run

Before coaching football, Coach Kennedy served 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, proudly defending your rights and freedoms under the U.S. Constitution. Serving gave him a special sense of appreciation for what our country represents, and the freedoms that we enjoy.

When the Bremerton School District in Washington state fired him for kneeling in quiet prayer, Coach Kennedy – a Marine who served in combat during Operation Desert Storm – was ready. He had no plans to run from the fight to defend his right to live out his faith. For him, the fight had just begun.

Learn How 20 Years in the Marine Corps Gave Him the Courage to Kneel

Coach Kennedy | Courage to Kneel | First Liberty

Photo of Coach Kennedy during the Gulf War. Pictured from left to right U.S. Marines: Jurado, Joseph Kennedy, Rodriguez, Wallace; Bottom: Luna.

Coach Joe Kennedy | First Liberty

From the Battlefield to the Football Field

Before he even coached his first game, this Marine Corps veteran turned football coach made a commitment to God that he would give thanks after every game—win or lose—for the opportunity to be a football coach and lead his players into battle.

So after his very first football game in 2008, Coach Kennedy waited until the players cleared the field, then took a knee in quiet prayer. This continued after each game for seven years—and no students, coaches or parents ever complained about it.

In fact, it was actually a compliment that caused him to start taking heat. After initially being told by a school administrator how grateful they were for his leadership and example, Coach Kennedy received an official letter from the school district ordering him to stop praying after games. After a request for religious accommodation was denied, he was ultimately suspended.

Learn all of the details of Coach Kennedy’s case

Why Did He Do It?

As a man of faith, Coach Joe made an agreement with God—that if he ever had the opportunity to become a football coach, he would give God the glory after every game.

For Coach Kennedy, that meant going to the 50 yard-line to kneel down in a brief, quiet prayer – win or lose. That was his commitment to God. Not showing up, was never an option.

One of the most important principles in football, in athletics, and in life, is—always give 100%. And Coach Kennedy was determined to give 100% in his commitment to God.

Watch Coach Kennedy talk about his journey to finding faith, fulfilling his calling on the football field, and what this fight means to him

Join Team Kennedy Today

Donate Now to Keep Our Elite Team of Attorneys on the Case

Coach Kennedy took a stand for his faith by kneeling in prayer. Now, it’s your turn. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and allow people of faith to be censored, silenced, and cancelled.

Our team is growing…but as we take the case back to the Supreme Court, it will take millions of patriotic Americans like you to win victory for Coach Kennedy and protect the right of every American to live out their faith. We will never charge Coach Kennedy a single dime to defend his constitutional rights—which means we can only complete this comeback with your support.

Join the all-star team that includes Franklin Graham; football greats Tony Dungy, Chad Henning, Steve Largent; Facing the Giants director Alex Kendrick, 21 State Attorneys General—even 4 Supreme Court justices—and stand with Coach Kennedy today.

*If contributions exceed the immediate needs of a specific project or case, First Liberty may redirect funds at its discretion to provide support for other religious liberty matters.

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