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Football player who refused to take the knee to support BLM awarded $100,000

Jake Massey

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| Last updated 

Football player who refused to take the knee to support BLM awarded $100,000

Featured Image Credit: Virginia Tech Athletics

A footballer who refused to take the knee has reportedly been awarded $100,000.

Former Virginia Tech player Kiersten Hening filed a lawsuit after she claimed she was dropped from the side for expressing her political opinions.

As part of an agreement to dismiss a federal lawsuit - in which she claimed she was punished for exercising her First Amendment rights - she will receive the sum, according to The Roanoke Times.

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The settlement includes no admission of wrongdoing from Hening or coach Charles Adair.

Coach Charles Adair said he dropped Hening for her poor performance, not her refusal to take the knee. Credit: Hokie Sports
Coach Charles Adair said he dropped Hening for her poor performance, not her refusal to take the knee. Credit: Hokie Sports

Hening claimed that she lost her starting place in the team after she refused to kneel during a unity ceremony at the beginning of a 2020 game, which was held - in part - to show support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement following the killing of George Floyd.

Attorneys for Adair insisted she was dropped purely for performance reasons.

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The coach acknowledged the settlement on Twitter, but made no mention of the payment to Hening and did not respond to a request for comment from The Roanoke Times.

"I am pleased the case against me has been closed and I am free to move forward clear of any wrongdoing," he tweeted.

"It's unfortunate, but this ordeal was about a disappointment and disagreement about playing time.

"Today, we have clarity that this case lacked any standing, and without evidence, the truth has prevailed."

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Adair acknowledged the settlement on Twitter, but didn't address the payment to Kiersten Hening. Credit: @CoachChugger/Twitter
Adair acknowledged the settlement on Twitter, but didn't address the payment to Kiersten Hening. Credit: @CoachChugger/Twitter

The settlement was reached shortly after US District Judge Thomas Cullen denied a motion by Tech to have the case dismissed in early December, stating that there were key facts that needed to be cleared up by a jury.

The university said it would have presented evidence that two other players refused to take the knee and did not lose their spot, while Hening claimed she left the team two games later due to the coach's 'campaign of abuse and retaliation'.

Floyd died on 25 May 2020 after former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine and a half minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe.

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J. Alexander Kueng knelt on Floyd's back during the restraint while a third officer, Thomas Lane, held Floyd's legs and a fourth, Tou Thao, kept bystanders from intervening.

Floyd's death sparked international protests. Credit: Todd Strand / Alamy Stock Photo
Floyd's death sparked international protests. Credit: Todd Strand / Alamy Stock Photo

The killing, which a bystander recorded, sparked worldwide protests as part of a broader reckoning over racial injustice.

Chauvin was convicted of state murder and manslaughter charges in 2021 and is serving twenty-two-and-a-half years in the state case.

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He also pleaded guilty to a federal charge of violating Floyd's civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years.

He is serving the sentences concurrently at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona.

Topics: News, Sport, US News, Black Lives Matter

Jake Massey
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