Local coach reacts to Monday Supreme Court ruling
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -Football and faith, it turns out, can coexist these days! A rather big decision handed down by the United States Supreme Court Monday. One that centered around a high school football coach in Washington State who was fired years ago for kneeling and praying on the field after games.
The highest court in the land ruled six to three in favor of that coach, Joseph Kennedy, ruling the coach’s prayer was protected by the First Amendment. Many coaches in our area are men of faith, and I spoke with one of them Monday, Bay head football coach Jeremy Brown, about this decision, and he says he was happy with it.
”So many times there’s maybe some negative things that we don’t necessarily agree with as coaches, but we have to be empathetic to people’s feelings.” coach Brown told me via Zoom Monday afternoon. “And I think this is one of those situations it might just be looking the other way now. I think as coaches, I know me and the coaches I work with, coaches I’ve worked with in the past , you know we never force our religious beliefs on anyone.”
That said, the coach says it is important to communicate with the athletes and their families. And to establish relationships that can help everyone avoid uncomfortable situations surrounding religion and prayer on the field.
“But I think it’s the communication part. From the coaches standpoint it’s the willingness to be able to say hey you know we may want to pray after a game. But not every kid on the team may feel comfortable doing it. And I think it’s the idea of we don’t want you to feel uncomfortable because maybe were praying. But I think when you build relationships with kids, you know those kids. And be able to say hey buddy, I’ve had A kid before say hey Coach man after the game I just don’t really agree with praying. I’m fine with the team praying, the coach if you don’t mind when you call everybody up I may just slide over to the side. Hey no problem you do what’s comfortable for you!”
Brown says he’s coached kids of many faiths, or those with no faith at all. And again, respecting all is key!
“I am a Christian guy, I go to church. But I don’t ever tell my kids that if they don’t go to church they can’t play football. If they don’t believe the same things that I do, they can’t play football. I think that’s where we kind of miss the boat maybe sometimes in our country altogether. We are so determined to make everybody think and believe the things that we believe. When there’s not enough empathy in this world. There’s not enough people saying hey you can believe what you believe. I believe what I believe. And we can both coexist, and we can both feel comfortable, and we can both be a part of a football team.”
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