Kiersten Hening, a former soccer player at Virginia Tech, has filed a lawsuit claiming her coach forced her off the team because she wouldn’t take a knee for BLM.
The suit claims Charles “Chugger” Adair was supportive of efforts to have university athletes wear Black Lives Matter masks, wristbands and armbands, but Henning dissented.
The lawsuit claims, “because she refused to kneel, he benched her, subjected her to repeated verbal abuse, and forced her off the team.”
The suit states that Hening’s refusal to kneel came during the reading of an ACC unity statement read prior to Virginia Tech’s September 12 game at Virginia. The former Rapid remained standing while most other starters knelt during the reading of the statement. According to the court-filed document, one other starter stood as well, but that player’s parents informed Adair of her intention prior to the game and warned against retaliation. That player was also on scholarship.
'At the next opportunity- halftime of the Virginia game-Coach Adair berated Hening for her stance,' the lawsuit reads. 'He singled her out and directly attacked her, pointing a finger in her face. He denounced Hening for ‘bitching and moaning,’ for being selfish and individualistic, and for ‘doing her own thing.’
The document goes on to detail a film session in which the verbal abuse continued and cited the following two matches in which Hening was removed from the starting line-up. During those games, she saw her minutes decrease. She departed the team on September 20.
The lawsuit also states that Adair and other coaches were overheard discussing players' political views, "The coaches speculated, mockingly, that some of the players and their families probably thought "All Lives Matter."
The suit, filed in March, is seeking Hening’s reinstatement on the team and for Adair to undergo First Amendment training along with compensatory damages.
Hening reportedly was a starter during her freshman and sophomore years at Virginia Tech, she is currently in her junior year.