Story at a glance

  • A former Virginia Tech women’s soccer player is suing a former coach for allegedly benching her because she did not want to take a knee during a pregame protest in September 2020.
  • Kiersten Hening claims in the lawsuit that her coach, Charles Adair, disagreed with her political views and subjected her to verbal attacks for refusing to kneel.
  • Henning is seeking reinstatement on the team, financial damages and for Adair to be required to take first amendment training.

A former Virginia Tech women’s soccer player is suing a former coach for allegedly benching her because she did not want to take a knee during a pregame protest in September 2020. 

Kiersten Hening claims in the lawsuit that her coach, Charles Adair, disagreed with her political views and subjected her to verbal attacks for refusing to kneel, Newsweek reported. Hening explained in the lawsuit that she agrees that Black lives matter, but she disagrees with the organization, according to the outlet. 

Hening and a fellow teammate declined to kneel before a conference game against Virginia on Sept. 12, but the lawsuit claims that Adair proceeded to single her out for her decision. 

"At the next opportunity—halftime of the Virginia game-Coach Adair berated Hening for her stance," the suit said.

"He singled her out and directly attacked her, pointing a finger in her face,” the lawsuit said. “He denounced Hening for 'bitching and moaning,' for being selfish and individualistic, and for 'doing her own thing.'"


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


The lawsuit alleges Adair violated both Hening’s First and 14th amendment rights, according to the outlet. Hening, following her decision not to kneel, received fewer minutes the following games.

"Hening's stance was costly — too costly," the lawsuit read. "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."

Hening is seeking reinstatement on the team, financial damages and for Adair to be required to take first amendment training, Newsweek reported. 

A spokesperson for Virginia Tech declined to comment on the matter at this time.  

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) ruled last week that it will uphold a rule barring demonstrations, including kneeling and raising a fist at Olympic venues. The ruling, which resulted from a review of 3,500 athletes beginning in June 2020, found that 70 percent of athletes surveyed opposed demonstrations. 

Athletes who choose to protest despite the rule could face punishment, according to the IOC’s Athletes Commission chief Kirsty Coventry.


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA 


NORTH CAROLINA LAWMAKERS PUSH TO REPEAL JIM CROW-ERA VOTER LITERACY TEST

FIRST CITY IN US TO ENACT REPARATIONS FOR ITS BLACK RESIDENTS

BLACK LIVES MATTER ANNOUNCES NEW SURVIVAL FUND AMIDST THE WAIT FOR COVID-19 RELIEF

BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT NOMINATED FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE: REPORT

THE SUPREME COURT COULD DEAL A MAJOR BLOW TO MINORITY VOTERS

Published on Apr 26, 2021