East Coweta football coach forced by outsiders to end pre-game p - CBS46 News

East Coweta football coach forced by outsiders to end pre-game prayer tradition

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Coach John Small was unable to pray with his team in the game against Newnan (WGCL) Coach John Small was unable to pray with his team in the game against Newnan (WGCL)
Screengrab from the video that got the coach in trouble (FFRF) Screengrab from the video that got the coach in trouble (FFRF)
fans pray with the team as coaches stand aside (taken by attendee at East Coweta vs. Newnan) fans pray with the team as coaches stand aside (taken by attendee at East Coweta vs. Newnan)
NEWNAN, GA (CBS46) -

No thanks to a complaint from an out-of-state attorney, East Coweta football coach John Small, will have to retire his tradition of praying with the team.

A video featuring the coach joining in a student-led prayer was taken off the internet, and all that remains of it is a screengrab taken by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

Somehow, the video clip came to the Wisconsin-based group's attention and they took the opportunity to reach out from across the country and meddle in the Georgia school's affairs.

They sent a letter to the school district pointing out that it is technically against federal law for a coach to be involved in prayer with players.

Backed into a corner, school leaders told the coach he has to stop. Many people at the Friday night game against Newnan spoke against the decision. Our news crew could find no one speaking in favor of it.

Understandably camera shy now, the coach was not interested in commenting on the matter, and if the team held a prayer before the game, they did it somewhere away from our camera's view.

Some students spoke of rushing the field after the game in protest of the decision, but as the final seconds ticked off the clock, and Newnan had the higher score, that demonstration never materialized.

We didn't catch it with our camera, but an alert attendee of the game sent us a photo of the team and students gathered for a prayer right after the national anthem.  The coaches appear to be a fair distance away.

It was a tough loss for the team for multiple reasons. They lost the game, but they also had to change a tradition that very few people, and possibly no one at the school had a problem with.

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