School Coach, Fired For Praying With Players On Field, Wins Rs 14 Crore In Settlement

OB Bureau

New York: A high-school football coach lost his job for praying with his student players.

Eight years later, he has had the last laugh, winning $1.7 million (about Rs 14 crore) in a settlement.

Joseph Kennedy, who coached students at a Washington high school, was fired after he led the students in midfield prayers at the end of matches. Now, he will not only receive a huge settlement but also get his job back for a stipend of $5,305 after the Bremerton school board voted unanimously to accept the $1,775,000 settlement payout.

The US Supreme Court earlier delivered a split decision that the coach’s prayer groups were protected by the First Amendment.

“It is just incredible to know that I did nothing wrong. Everything I did was fine. I had a commitment with God that I’d give him thanks after every football game, win or lose,” Kennedy was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

Kennedy, who began coaching at Bremerton High School in 2008, started praying alone at the end of all games. His students gradually started joining him, and he delivered inspirational speeches with religious references.

It was not until 2015 that the school board received complaints that athletes felt pressured to join Kennedy’s coaching classes.

Kennedy stopped the speeches, but continued his post-match prayers on the field. The school district suspended him later that year, with his contract not being renewed.

OB Bureau

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