Football coach fired for defying school prayer ban could get second shot at legal battle

Former high school football coach Joe Kennedy, who was fired for praying after each game, is fighting to get his job back in time for the season. But, more important, he told Fox News, he's fighting for the rights of all Americans.

Kennedy, inspired by the faith-based film, Facing the Giants, started kneeling in a silent, 15-second prayer at the 50-yard line at the end of every game. The Bremerton High School coach started alone, but was quickly joined by his team and oftentimes, members from the opposing team.

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However, the Bremerton School District in Washington State didn't approve, and in 2015, the district suspended and later fired the retired Marine Corps gunnery sergeant, who did a combat tour during Operation Desert Storm, for not stopping his public act. Although the Supreme Court declined to take his case earlier this year, Kennedy's attorney is hopeful an audible could get him back in the game.

The Supreme Court "actually gave me another set of downs and a path forward in getting my rights back," Kennedy told "Fox & Friends" on Friday morning.

Coach Joe Kennedy encouraging his team.

Coach Joe Kennedy encouraging his team. (First Liberty Institute)

Four justices -- in a statement issued by Justice Samuel Alito and joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh -- said the case "of the free speech rights of public school teachers is troubling and may justify review in the future" if more facts are revealed in a lower court.

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First Liberty Institute lawyer Mike Berry is hopeful the district court in Tacoma will be favorable and could get him back on the field as soon as this season.

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"The Supreme Court said there were unresolved questions and we're getting answers," Berry added. "We look forward to taking Coach Kennedy's case back up to the Supreme Court, if necessary, and restore this man's rights. He fought for our country in the Marine Corps. They didn't teach him how to quit in the Marines and we're not going to quit."

Kennedy wants to get back to do what he loves--coaching, but he knows the current fight is about much more than that.

"It's for the Constitution and the rights of all Americans," Kennedy said. "They've taken my rights away so somebody's got to stand up and fight."

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The Washington coach says he is just one of many who pray on the football field, including the Seattle Seahawks, in his own state.

"There are thousands of coaches around the country who do things just like Coach Kennedy did," Berry concluded. "Their rights are in jeopardy, and here at First Liberty, we're excited to get back in the courtroom and get Coach Kennedy back on the field."