Kiersten Hening: Ex-Virginia Tech soccer player sues coach, claims he kicked her out of team for not kneeling
BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA: During a pregame demonstration last September, former Virginia Tech women's soccer player Kiersten Hening did not want to kneel. She claims she believes in 'black lives matter' but she doesn't necessarily have to take the knee. She had to face severe consequences as her former coach allegedly benched her and forced her off the team because she did not want to kneel. She is now suing her former coach, Hokies women’s soccer coach Charles "Chugger" Adair.
In a federal lawsuit filed last month, Hening said that Adair did not agree with her political views and she ended up paying a huge price for that — apart from being kicked off the team, she was also subjected to repeated verbal abuse, she says.
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"Hening's stance was costly — too costly," stated the lawsuit, filed March 3. "Her coach dislikes Hening's political views. Because she refused to kneel, he benched her, subjected her to repeated verbal abuse, and forced her off the team." The lawsuit claims that Adair’s actions violated her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Who is Kiersten Hening?
21-year-old Hening was a midfielder/ defender for the Hokies from 2018 to 2020. In 2018 as a true freshman, Hening started 19 games, and she played 18 games in 2019. In the lawsuit, Hening says that she "played more minutes than any other player on the team."
Documents reportedly obtained by TMZ Sports reveal more about the lawsuit filed against the coach. During the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer, Hening said that she often had a difference of opinion from her teammates on social justice topics.
During the pregame reading of a "unity statement" on September 12, 2020, Hening said that many of her teammates kneeled before their game against Virginia, but she remained standing. She says that she was "verbally attacked" by Adair at half-time. Adair allegedly pointed a finger "directly in her face" and said that she was "b***hing and moaning". Additionally, Adair allegedly also said Hening was being selfish and individualistic for "doing her own thing."
After this, the abuse reportedly worsened. The lawsuit states that Adair continued to target Hening with verbal rants before benching her. According to Hening, things got so "intolerable that she felt compelled" to leave the team.
In the lawsuit, Hening clarified that she "supports social justice and believes that black lives matter" but she said that she "does not support BLM the organization." In addition to that, she added that she disagrees with Black Lives Matter's "tactics and core tenets of its mission statement, including defunding the police."
Hening felt like her constitutional rights were violated and she is now suing for an undisclosed amount. According to the latest reports, she asked the judge to order Adair to get her back on the team, and for him to undergo First Amendment training, plus compensatory, punitive and nominal damages.