In 2015, coach Joe Kennedy was put on administrative leave by the Bremerton School District in Kitsap County, Washington. Kennedy is a former assistant football coach at Bremerton High School and was disciplined for praying on the field following the school’s football games. For seven seasons, Kennedy led his team in prayer at the conclusion of every game. Following being put on leave, Kennedy’s contract was not renewed for the 2016 school year.
The case has been taken to the Supreme Court and a familiar name has been added to the petition to reinstate Kennedy.
Former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden is supporting Kennedy, although the two have never met. When asked why he was backing the fired coach, Bowden told Fox News Kennedy was, “doing something I always did.”
“I thought it was part of the program,” Bowden said. “It was for us.”
Bowden led the Seminoles as head coach from 1976-2009, compiling a record of 304-97-4 and winning the National Championship in 1993 and 1999. During his time, he was crowned Atlantic Conference Champion 12 times.
“If we’re going to fire every coach or every teacher in public that has prayer with his team, who’s going to raise our children,” Bowden asked?
As head coach, Bowden and his FSU players attended church every Sunday.
“I always told the parents when I was recruiting them, we are going to church and we are going to have prayer.”
There was always the caveat that Bowden included in the recruiting visits that if the parents were uncomfortable with their son’s attending a service, he would not force it. During his 57 years on the sideline, only twice did a parent object.
The two players referenced ended up becoming Christians before their time was up at Florida State.
In many religions, specifically in the southern United States, races are often segregated in churches. This didn’t bother Bowden in the least.
“I would take my kids to a white church and all of them had to attend,” Bowden said. “Then, I’d take them to a black church and they would have to attend.”
The reasoning to Bowden was simple. He wanted to show his players when they were away from home, they were welcomed in their churches regardless of their race.
“If you do (something), someone is going to object, if you don’t do something, someone is going to object,” Bowden said. “I believe I’d rather be on the right side, and to me, that’s on God’s side.”
In the end, coach Joe Kennedy is a winner to Bowden.
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