Apparently the distinction falls between holding prayer sessions before a game and after.
While the national sports conversation focuses on the ongoing national anthem protests that were held across the NFL, a California high school has made kneeling after games a source of acclaim. As reported by the Modesto Bee, the Beyer High football team has celebrated the conclusion of each game with a group prayer, celebrated along with the team’s opponents.
“With everything going on in our society, with the election of the new president, we need to put things aside and come together,” Beyer football coach Doug Severe told the Bee. “It’s important for the kids to realize it’s just a game. It’s not the end of the world. It’s about trying to teach them life lessons through this game. You can battle and fight hard, but when it’s over … it’s over.
“We can have disagreements on different political things, as well, but we got to come together as a unit.”
Severe insists he doesn’t force any players on either side of the field to take part in the postgame prayer. That makes the postgame prayer voluntary, which is apparently the key distinction to Bremerton (Wash.) coach Joe Kennedy, who had held pregame prayers before being suspended when he refused to stop holding them.
One recent foe praised Severe’s commitment to prayer and his player’s mental and physical wellbeing. And thus far, no one has complained about Severe’s actions. Rather, they’ve been a virtually unanimous source of praise.
That’s a far cry from the current protests that have inflamed the football universe.