Athlete ‘faced retaliation’ for refusing to support BLM. Now court rules

This story was originally published by the WND News Center.

A federal court has sided with a former Virginia Tech soccer player who complained that leftists at the school retaliated against her for refusing to endorse their progressive ideologies.

And the result of the case could “set important precedent for the freedom of speech,” according to constitutional expert Jonathan Turley.

The substance of the case is the charge that soccer coach Charles Adair retaliated against the player, eventually throwing her off the soccer team, because she would not kneel for a “Unity Statement” at the school.

Kiersten Hening made the charges, and now Judge Thomas Cullen has ruled that the case will move forward to trial.

Hening charges Adair demanded his team support his Black Lives Matter agenda, and Hening refused, including refusing to kneel when Adair required.

Afterward, the case charges, “she was benched, harassed and ultimately forced off the team.”

Turley pointed out as a state school, Virginia Tech is confined to the limitations on government’s control of speech by the First Amendment.

The complaint charges that Adair benched her, publicly ridiculed her, denounced her in front of the team for being selfish, and worse.

She almost instantly lost a majority of her playing time.

Turley pointed out, “It is well-established that the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech includes ‘both the right to speak freely and the right to refrain from speaking at all.’ As a necessary corollary to protect that fundamental right, the ‘right of free speech includes … the right to be free from retaliation by a public official for the exercise of that right,'” he explained.

At trial, he explained, Hening needs evidence that she was engaged in First Amendment activity, Adair retaliated against her, and there was a “causal relationship” between the two.

He said a reasonable jury “could find that Adair’s conduct towards his former player constituted an adverse action for purposes of her First Amendment retaliation claim.”

“A fair review of the record indicates that Hening’s case is based on more than supposition; indeed, ample circumstantial evidence undergirds her claim and gives rise to genuine issues of material fact about Adair’s true motives and actions,” the lawyer wrote.

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