A former Virginia Tech women’s soccer player who refused to kneel during a pre-game social-justice demonstration, and accused her coaching of benching her because of it, is now $100,000 richer.
Kiersten Hening is receiving the money as part of a settlement for dropping a federal lawsuit against Hokies coach Charles “Chugger” Adair, per the Roanoke Times. Hening cited a violation of her First Amendment rights in the lawsuit.
Specifically, Adair refused to play Hening after she did not kneel during a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, she alleged.
Hening wrote in her lawsuit that she “supports social justice and believes that black lives matter,” but that she “does not support BLM the organization,” citing its “tactics and core tenets of its mission statement, including defunding the police.”
She said those beliefs were different than her coach’s and teammates and she was therefore benched solely because of her politics, and not because of a lack of ability.
Adair reportedly berated Hening for her refusal to kneel, then benched her, leading to her decision to quit two games later. In the lawsuit, she referred to Adair’s behavior as a “campaign of abuse and retaliation.”
Federal Judge Thomas Cullen denied a motion to dismiss a lawsuit back on Dec. 2, after Adair argued that two other players who also refused to kneel did not experience a reduction in playing time.
“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,” Cullen ruled.
Coach Chugger on Twitter
Adair eventually released a statement on Twitter saying that he was “pleased the case against me has been closed and I am free to move forward clear of any wrong doing.”
He did not mention the $100,000 that will be received by Hening.
“It’s unfortunate, but this ordeal was about a disappointment and disagreement about playing time. Today, we have clarity that this case lacked any standing, and without evidence, the truth has prevailed,” Adair added.