Former Virginia Tech football player allegedly benched for refusing to kneel gets $100K settlement: lawyer
A former Virginia Tech women’s soccer player who accused his coach to bench her for her political views will receive at least $100,000 as part of an agreement to dismiss a federal lawsuit.
Kiersten Hening will receive the award as part of a settlement in the lawsuit he filed in 2021 against head coach Charles “Chugger” Adair on First Amendment grounds, his attorney Cameron Norris said last week, according to the Roanoke Times.
Norris noted that the terms of the agreement did not include an admission of wrongdoing by his client or Adair.
There are no details of the agreement in court records, according to the outlet, but Norris said the agreement must be approved by university and state officials before it becomes final.
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Hening, who was a midfielder/defender for the Hokies from 2018-20, sued Adair in his personal and official capacity as coach, alleging he punished her for her Political Viewswho often differed from his teammates during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020.
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Hening claimed that she was removed from its starting position and pressured her to leave the team after she refused to kneel during the reading of a “unity statement” before a game against UVA on September 12, 2020. She said Adair “verbally attacked her” at halftime. , claiming that he was “b–fucking and moaning” while putting his finger in her face.
Hening explained in the lawsuit that while he “supports social justice and believes Black lives matter,” he “does not support the BLM organization,” citing its “mission statement basic tenets and tactics, including defunding police”.
Adair continued to berate Hening until he benched her and finally made things so intolerable that she felt she had no choice but to leave the teamdepending on the suit
On December 2, Federal Judge Thomas Cullen denied a motion to dismiss the suit, noting that Hening’s time on the field decreased after the kneeing incident. Adair had argued that two other players who refused to take a knee did not face reduced playing time.
“Ultimately, Adair can convince a jury that this coach’s decision was based solely on Hening’s poor play during the UVA game, but the court, looking at the evidence from Hening’s most favorable point of view, cannot reach that conclusion as a matter of law.” ruled Cullen, who said the issues in the case are fundamental.
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The three-day trial scheduled to begin later this month was canceled last Tuesday in a court filing that said the case had been settled.
On January 4, Adair released a statement on Twitter, saying in part, “I am pleased that the case against me has been closed and I am free to move forward without committing any crime.”
“It’s unfortunate, but this ordeal stemmed from disappointment and a disagreement over playing time. Today, we are clear that this case was without merit and, without evidence, the truth prevailed,” said Adair, who did not mention the agreement.
Attorney Adam Mortara tweeted in response to Adair’s statement: “If by clarity you mean he’s paying my client six figures in a settlement then you’re right that’s pretty clear. Honestly Coach please read the opinion of the court. You’re paying. Defendants don’t pay in cases that don’t have standing.”
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Mortara went on to thank Adair and his “bosses at Tech for paying several years’ worth of tuition.”