Kiersten Hening Ex-Virginia Tech soccer player sues coach after being forced off team refusing to kneel for BLM. Fighting for her first amendment rights.
Do politics/social justice issues and sport belong? A former Virginia Tech women’s soccer player, is suing her former coach after she was allegedly benched and forced off the team for refusing to kneel during a pre-game demonstration last September.
Kiersten Hening, 21, was a midfielder/defender for the Hokies from 2018 to 2020. In a federal lawsuit filed last month, Hening said her former coach, Charles Adair, wasn’t a fan of her political views leading to her being subjected to a ‘campaign of abuse and retaliation’.
The lawsuit, which was filed on March 3 but only surfaced recently, explains that Hening’s soccer career ended, not because of her performance on the field, but because of her political beliefs.
In the lawsuit, Hening said she ‘supports social justice and believes that black lives matter’ but she said she ‘does not support BLM the organization.’ Hening added that she disagrees with Black Lives Matter’s ‘tactics and core tenets of its mission statement, including defunding the police.’
Should a sports player be held captive to her team’s social/political views?
Hening said during the pregame reading of a ‘unity statement’ on Sept. 12, 2020, many of her teammates knelt before their game against Virginia, but she remained standing, only for the player to be ‘verbally attacked’ by Adair at halftime according to the filed suit.
Adair allegedly pointed a finger ‘directly in her face’ and said that she was ‘b–tching and moaning.’ Hening added that Adair said she was being selfish and individualistic for ‘doing her own thing.’
Adair continued to verbally attack Hening before benching her, the lawsuit stated. According to Hening, things got so ‘intolerable that she felt compelled’ to leave the team.
Hening maintains her constitutional rights were violated and is suing for an undisclosed amount. She demanded that the judge order Adair to put her back on the team.
In addition to unspecified financial rewards for compensatory, punitive and nominal damages, as well as lawyer fees, Hening is also seeking a ruling ordering Adair to ‘undergo First Amendment training.’
Which is to wonder, in a ‘free society’ isn’t a player/worker/citizen etc entitled to their point of view without fear of being reprimanded or sanctioned if it goes against the ‘party line’?
In 2018 as a true freshman, Hening started 19 games, playing 18 games in 2019. In the lawsuit, Hening says she ‘played more minutes than any other player on the team.’