Who is Kylee McLaughlin? 'Racist' Oklahoma volleyball player sues varsity for being cut from team
A former volleyball player from the University of Oklahoma is suing her alma mater and ex-coaches for labeling her 'racist' and consequently 'freezing' her out of the team. Kylee McLaughlin, who was a standout player with Sooners All-Big 12, holds conservative political views.
She reportedly disagreed with her teammates on certain racially sensitive matters like George Floyd's death or the Oscar-winning documentary '13th' about Black prisoners being imprisoned disproportionately in the USA. McLaughlin's right-wing political beliefs led her to be alienated by the team members. Now, her lawsuit implicates OU coach Lindsey Gray-Walton and assistant coach Kyle Walton, who are being sued for $75,000 each. "Although (McLaughlin) supports equality, social justice, and finds racism despicable, she disagreed with the woke culture and critical race theory advocated and practiced by two of her coaches who are the Defendants in this action," her lawsuit says.
𝐒𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐨𝐫 𝐖𝐞𝐞𝐤 | No. 4 𝗞𝘆𝗹𝗲𝗲 𝗠𝗰𝗟𝗮𝘂𝗴𝗵𝗹𝗶𝗻— Oklahoma Volleyball (@OU_Volleyball) November 18, 2020
The 2018 Big 12 Co-Setter of the Year, Kylee was a two-time All-Big 12 First-Team Selection and two-time All-Southwest Region honoree. For her career, she tallied 3,546 assists.
𝙏𝙝𝙖𝙣𝙠 𝙮𝙤𝙪, Kylee. ⭕️🙌🏐 pic.twitter.com/UXBT4orZa9
She has filed five other complaints in the lawsuit, suing the school and coaches for a total of $375,000. Presently, 22-year-old McLaughlin has been transferred to the University of Mississippi for her final year.
Who is Kylee McLaughlin?
Hailing from Texas, Kylee McLaughlin was named the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year in 2016. She was playing for Hebron High School in Carrolton, Texas, at the time. In her freshman season, she played for Oregon State University before being transferred to Oklahoma.
McLaughlin has been a star player for the University of Oklahoma volleyball team, where she helped the team reach the NCAA tournament in 2019. However, she alleges that there have been multiple instances where she had faced backlash and isolation due to her conservative political views.
The incidents sparked after the brutal murder of George Floyd in May 2020 by Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin. The OU volleyball team, which comprises both White and African-American players, held discussions about social justice and white privilege following the countrywide Black Lives Matter movement. McLaughlin claims that they were made to watch the documentary '13th' at the time.
After watching the Oscar-winning documentary by Ava Duvernay, McLaughlin reportedly criticized the film for targetting Donald Trump and dubbed it as 'left-wing'. She also added that Black Americans are disproportionately incarcerated 'mostly for marijuana and drugs.' Her remarks did not sit well with one of her Black teammates, who termed her comments as 'racist'.
In another incident, McLaughlin reportedly reacted with laughter emojis to a report that said University of Texas students wanted to replace 'The Eyes of Texas' as the school spirit song, given its history of origin in minstrel shows. Her response drew a lot of criticism online from Texas and OU volleyball players but she insisted on the song not being 'racist'. Later, OU coach Gray-Walton allegedly ordered her to delete the post and apologize to the Texas women's volleyball coach and players, claims her lawsuit.
Following the incidents, McLaughlin was told by coaches and administrators that she did not fit in with the culture of the team. They gave her the options of transferring, continuing on scholarship as a non-athletic student, or take a redshirt year. She opted for the last choice and during her redshirt year, she was subjected to undergo 10 hours of diversity and inclusion training online.
Her lawsuit accuses the university administration and the coaches of violating her free speech and falsely branding her as racist and homophobic, which, in turn, affected her volleyball career.