After Army beat Temple last weekend, their team’s social media accounts posted a video of the postgame locker room celebrations, in which head coach Jeff Monken asked an assistant coach to lead the team in a prayer. The video has since been pulled, and an investigation into whether or not the prayer violated the First Amendment rights of team’s cadets is underway. It has been replaced with the following video, which has the prayer edited out.
Apparently, several Army-adjacent people contacted Military Religious Freedom Foundation president Mikey Weinstein, who then took those complaints to lieutenant general Robert Caslen. Weinstein explained to the Associated Press why the video represented a religious freedom transgression, and said that he expected an apology:
“In this case, Coach Monken chose the wrong time, the wrong place and the wrong manner,” Weinstein said Thursday. “He can’t tell anybody, put your hand on someone and let’s pray. You can’t do it, particularly when you’re the head coach (of a public school).”
Weinstein said the video received 232,000 views and 2,000 Facebook shares. He said he started getting “inundated” with phone calls, texts and emails, including 44 from West Point graduates, 40 members of the academy faculty and staff, and six football players, prompting a call to West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen.
“We assume that there’s going to be an apology from the coach to the team,” Weinstein said. “We are assuming there’s an admission there was a misstep.”