Judge Grants Lawsuit Of Virginia Soccer Player Who Was Allegedly Benched For Not Taking A Knee

Credit: Liam Asman / Alamy
A judge recently ruled in favor of a former Virginia Tech women's soccer player after she filed a lawsuit against her former coach for benching her due to her political views.

As per Fox News, Kiersten Hening was allegedly benched and then pressured to leave the team after she refused to take a knee during a pregame social justice demonstration.

In 2021, Hening, who was a defender for the soccer team for two years before she left, sued Coach Charles "Chugger" Adair alleging that the coach often treated her differently due to her differing views on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Judge Thomas Cullen made the announcement earlier this month, stating that the lawsuit was filed based on her First Amendment rights.

In official documents included within the Fox News report, it is clarified that while she "supports social justice and believes that Black lives matter," she "does not support BLM the organization," citing its "tactics and core tenets of its mission statement, including defunding the police."

Referring to the lawsuit, Judge Cullen explained that due to Coach Aidair's "b******* and moaning" during halftime, and his decision to bench Hening, the soccer player had no choice but to quit the team.

"Hening, who had been a major on-field contributor for two years prior to the 2020 season, also asserts that Adair removed her from the starting lineup for the next two games and drastically reduced her playing time in those games because she had engaged in this protected First Amendment activity. As a result, Hening resigned from the team after the third game of the season," he said.
Page 1 of Kiersten Hening's lawsuit against her former coach. Credit: gov.uscourts
Evidence from Hening's on-pitch playing times was cited to support the movement.

"As a freshman, Hening averaged 76 minutes of playing time; as a sophomore, nearly 88," Cullen wrote. "But during the Clemson game [the next game after the kneeling incident], Hening only played 29 minutes, and, at the UNC game, just 5."

While the coach in question tried to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that two other players who refused to take the knee did not face any of the alleged repercussions Hening did, it was ultimately denied.

"Ultimately, Adair may convince a jury that this coaching decision was based solely on Hening’s poor play during the UVA game, but the court, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Hening, cannot reach that conclusion as a matter of law," concluded Judge Cullen.

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