Kiersten Hening, a former Virginia Tech women’s soccer player, is suing her former coach after she was allegedly benched and forced off the team because she didn’t want to kneel during a pregame demonstration last September.
Hening, 21, was a midfielder/defender for the Hokies from 2018 to 2020. In a federal lawsuit filed last month, Hening said that her former coach, Charles Adair, wasn’t a fan of her political views. According to the documents obtained by TMZ Sports, Hening said during the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement last summer, she often had a difference of opinion from her teammates on social justice topics.
In the lawsuit, Hening said that she "supports social justice and believes that black lives matter" but she said that 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."
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 and she was "verbally attacked" by Adair at halftime.
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 target Hening with verbal rants before benching her, the lawsuit stated. According to Hening, things got so "intolerable that she felt compelled" to leave the team.
Hening felt like her constitutional rights were violated and she is now suing for an undisclosed amount. She demanded the judge to order Adair to get her back on the team, and to get acclimated with the First Amendment, the lawsuit says.
In 2018 as a true freshman, Hening started 19 games, and she played 18 games in 2019. In the lawsuit, Hening says that she "played more minutes than any other player on the team."