Former Virginia Tech soccer player Kiersten Hening has reached a settlement of $100,000 in a lawsuit against her coach, Charles “Chugger” Adair, after accusing him of benching her for not participating in a Black Lives Matter demonstration. According to a report from the Roanoke Times, the settlement includes no admission of wrongdoing by either Hening or Adair.
Hening had specifically refused to kneel during a social justice demonstration in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. In her lawsuit, Hening said that while she “supports social justice and believes that black lives matter,” she “does not support BLM the organization,” citing its “tactics and core tenets of its mission statement, including defunding the police.”
After Hening opted not to kneel during a reading of a “unity statement” before a September 12, 2020 game against the University of Virginia, her coach “verbally attacked” her during halftime, she said. Adair berated Hening and benched her, and two games later, she quit the team altogether, alleging in the lawsuit that she was forced out because of her coach’s “campaign of abuse and retaliation.”
On December 2, federal Judge Thomas Cullen denied a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, finding that Hening’s playing time had decreased after the incident. Adair had argued that two other players who also chose not to kneel did not face reduced playing time.