US ex-college soccer star sues coach over ‘benching and bullying’ for refusing to take knee
Kiersten Hening, 21, was a midfielder and defender for the Virginia Tech Hokies from 2018 to 2020.
In her lawsuit, which was lodged last month, she accuses Charles 'Chugger' Adair, her former coach, of benching, berating and forcing her off the team due to "hating" her political views.
Documents from Hening's legal team allege that the furor kicked off as the Black Lives Matter movement reached fever pitch last summer.
Most of the Hokies players took part in pre-kick-off protests, but as Hening's views on social justice matters differed, she did not.
Hening insists in her suit that she "believes that black lives matter," although she "does not support BLM the organization".
Disagreeing with the group's "tactics and core tenets of its mission statement, including defunding the police", this supposedly made her a subject of ridicule for Adair.
Allegedly singling her out, his poor treatment of Hening only increased when she refused to take the knee on September 12, she says.
Remaining standing while her teammates knelt, Hening was "verbally attacked" by Adair at half time, it is clained.
Pointed a finger "directly in her face", Adair blasted her for "b*tching and moaning, being selfish, and doing her own thing".
In the days that followed, Adair supposedly continued to hound Hening through verbal outbursts and eventually benched her from the starting lineup altogether.Also on rt.com 'I don't know what will happen': Russian football ace says US team AXED him after he chose not to take knee for Black Lives Matter
Adair created an environment so "intolerable that she felt compelled" to leave the team, and Hening is now suing for undisclosed damages.
Adamant her constitutional rights have been trampled on, she also wants Adair to undergo First Amendment training and allow her back on the team.
A star player until the incident, Hening started 19 games in 2018 and 18 in 2019.
Heading into the 2020 campaign, she claims to have "played more minutes than any other player" on Adair's side.
When it comes to the national anthem, standing is the new kneeling. I’m proud of Kiersten Hening for standing. pic.twitter.com/wv8uP2uNvc— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) April 23, 2021
Debate raged online as to who was in the wrong, and Hening has locked her Twitter account to ward off further attacks.
Self-proclaimed patriots have voiced their support for her, though, and have demanded coach Chugger is fired or takes training.