“As soon as the school district says ‘Hey, come back,’ I am there, first flight,” he said.
So the school district has been flummoxed about what’s happened since. They complied by offering to reinstate him, they say, and now the football season is in full swing. But Kennedy is nowhere near the sidelines.
“He’s had the paperwork for his reinstatement since August 8th, and we haven’t gotten so much as a phone call,” says Karen Bevers, spokesperson for Bremerton schools.
Instead, as the Bremerton Knights were prepping for the season in August, Kennedy was up in Alaska, meeting with former Vice President Mike Pence and evangelist Franklin Graham. On the eve of the first game, which the Knights won, Kennedy was in Milwaukee being presented with an engraved .22-caliber rifle at an American Legion convention.
The weekend of the second game, which the Knights also won, Kennedy appeared with former President Donald Trump at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. He saw Trump get a religious award from a group called the American Cornerstone Institute.
Coming up this month, Kennedy’s scheduled to give a talk as part of a lectureship series at a Christian university in Arkansas.
“Place a PR/Publicity Request,” invites his personal website, where he’s known as Coach Joe.
“The record is clear that Coach Kennedy was fired for that midfield prayer,” lawyer Paul Clement told the nine justices in the first 15 seconds of the oral arguments of the case in April. The words “fired,” “fire” or “firing” were used 16 times in the hour and a half session.
It wasn’t true though. The district’s lawyers tried to correct the record, to no avail.
“You can’t sue them for failing to rehire you if you didn’t apply,” one lawyer, Mercer Island’s Michael Tierney, argued during a lower court session. “The District didn’t get an application from him, had four positions to fill and filled them with people who had applied. It didn’t fail to rehire him.”
The Supreme Court simply ignored this inconvenient fact — along with a host of others. At one point during oral arguments, as a different school district attorney was saying the narrative that had been spun didn’t fit with the facts — that the coach’s prayers were neither silent nor solitary, nor was he fired — Justice Samuel Alito interrupted him, saying “I know that you want to make this very complicated.”