Va. Tech Athlete Files Suit Claiming She was Harassed After Refusing to Kneel During Anthem

The Associated Press (21)
The Associated Press

A Virginia Tech soccer player has filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming she was targeted for harassment because she would not take a knee during the national anthem.

Former Virginia Tech soccer player Kiersten Hening filed a lawsuit against coach Charles “Chugger” Adair, who she says “subjected her to verbal abuse” and then forced her off the soccer team over her political views, Outkick reported.

The player notes that she was no bench-sitter, having played the third-most minutes of the team in 2019 and the most minutes in 2020 during her junior year. Also, Henning was a starter for 18 of the school’s 19 games in 2019. She also points out that she was considered such a solid player that the coaching staff selected her to speak to the media ahead of the recent season.

But Hening says that the coaches turned on her in September of last year when the team met to discuss the idea of players wearing BLM medical masks, wristbands, armbands, and shirts during warmups. The team also wanted to put the names of victims of police violence on jerseys instead of player names.

Hening added that coach Adair also told players that he supports taking a knee during the national anthem, an idea over which Hening “quietly dissented.” In her suit, Hening insisted that she supports social justice and BLM — though not the latter’s aim to destroy the traditional family. But she does not support kneeling during the national anthem.

The player said she texted her concerns to fellow players, but some of those texts became the focus of accusations of “racism” against her. Hening further adds that coach Adair made her the topic of a rant during a Sept. 12 game because she would not kneel during the anthem. She also alleges that Adair launched a “campaign of abuse” against her and that the harassment got so bad that she quit the team on Sept. 20.

Hening claims that her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by team officials and demands to be reinstated. She is also asking for compensatory damages, punitive damages, and nominal damages. Finally, she wants Adair to be forced to take First Amendment training.

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