A judge recently ruled that a former Virginia Tech women's soccer player can sue her former coach after she was benched and harassed for leaving the team during a pregame social justice rally.
Kirsten Henning, a quarterback and defensive end for the Hokies from 2018 to 2020, will file a First Amendment lawsuit against coach Charles "Chagger" Eider in 2021, federal judge Thomas Cullen announced Dec. 2.
Henning said Adair was not a fan of his political views and often disagreed with his teammates on social justice issues in 2020 at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Henning also explained in the lawsuit that while he "supports social justice and believes black lives matter," he "does not support BLM," citing "the fundamental principles and tactics of its mission, including funding for the police."
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After Henning refused to kneel during the reading of a "statement of unity" before a game against UVA on Sept. 12, 2020, Ader said he "verbally assaulted" her at halftime, saying she "screamed and moaned" when he was touching her finger. . his face
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Coach Henning continued to harass him until he sat on the floor, making things so unbearable that he had to leave the team.
Henning, who has made significant contributions on the field in the two years leading up to the 2020 season, also claims that Ader was ruled out of the lineup for the next two games and that his participation in those games drastically reduced his playing time. This activity is protected by the First Amendment. So Henning left the team after the third game of the season,” Cullen said of his final decision.
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The referee noted that Henning's time on the field was reduced after the incident.
“As a freshman, Henning averaged 76 minutes of playing time; as a sophomore, about 88,” Cullen wrote. "But in the Clemson game [the next game after the knee injury] Henning only played 29 minutes and only 5 minutes against UNC."
Adair, noting that the other two players who refused to kneel did not face reduced playing time, denied the request.
"Ultimately, Ader could have convinced the jury that this coach's decision was based solely on Henning's poor play during the UVA game, but a court cannot legitimately reach that conclusion when viewed in the clearest light of the evidence." Hennings". Cullen managed to say that the problems at work are the main ones.
"Although the United States Supreme Court and the Fourth Circuit did not address the new factual circumstances presented here, which are the alleged retaliation by a college coach against a player for refusing to kneel with his coaches and teammates in support of unity and social justice, a fundamental, clearly established constitutional principle essential to a free society and especially to an institution of higher learning,” Cullen wrote.
Fox News' Daniel Canova contributed to this report.