A former Virginia Tech University women’s soccer player Kiersten Hening has filed a federal lawsuit against Hokies women’s soccer coach Chugger Adair, alleging that after she refused to kneel before games this season, the coach engaged in a “campaign of abuse and retaliation” that pushed her to leave the program.
“Hening’s stance was costly – too costly,” the lawsuit, filed March 3, reads. “Her coach dislikes Hening’s political views. Because she refused to kneel, he benched her, subjected her to repeated verbal abuse, and forced her off the team.”
Adiar has been at the helm of the Hokies soccer program for 10 seasons, and is the programs all-time winningest coach. He declined to comment and is being represented by university attorneys.
Associate vice president of university relations Mark Owczarski said the school is declining comment at this time.
The suit seeks a ruling that orders Adair to “undergo First Amendment training,” and to have Hening reinstated on the team, in addition to unspecified monetary awards for compensatory, punitive and nominal damages and costs associated with her case.
Hening’s attorneys did not respond to phone calls or emails requesting interviews Sunday and Monday.
The lawsuit alleges that, during halftime of the Sept. 12 season opener at UVA, “Coach Adair berated Hening for her stance. He singled her out and verbally attacked her, pointing a finger directly in her face. He denounced Hening for ‘bitching and moaning,’ for being selfish and individualistic, and for ‘doing her own thing.’”
According to the lawsuit, Adair targeted Hening instead of the other player who remained standing because that player was on scholarship and her parents had a previous phone conversation with Adair and had “warned him not to retaliate against their daughter for opposing (Black Lives Matter).”
Hening’s suit claims Adair continued to single her out and unfairly criticize her performance before and during the team’s next match against Clemson on Sept. 17, a game Hening – who started 37 matches her first two seasons at Tech – did not start. She did not start the team’s third match of the season, against North Carolina on Sept. 20, either. After that game, she left the program.
“Coach Adair’s campaign of abuse and retaliation made conditions for Hening so intolerable that she felt compelled to resign. Hening did not want to leave,” the lawsuit reads.
I can’t speak for you America, but this is how you stop these folks from trampling all over our nation, our flag, and our constitution. Kudos to this young woman for fighting back! Well done!
Thanks to our friends at Richmond.com for contributing to this article.