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Since the fall of 2020, there has been considerable controversy surrounding the treatment of former VT soccer player Kiersten Hening by VT coach Charles Adair. The incident that sparked this controversy was Hening’s refusal to kneel for a pregame demonstration for the Black Lives Matter movement on September 12, 2020. According to Hening, she was actively bullied and targeted by Adair over her political views, to the point where she felt forced to leave the team. She has since filed a lawsuit against her former coach alleging that her first amendment rights were violated and is seeking compensation of an undisclosed amount.

As a civil rights expert, attorney David Di Pietro was invited on Newsmax TV’s National Report show to provide his perspective on the matter. According to David, he views the treatment and discrimination against Hening as a clear violation of her first amendment rights, specifically noting that Virginia Tech is a public institution and therefore cannot force certain ideological agendas. He indicated that Kiersten’s attorneys will need to show clear evidence of the decrease in play time that happened after the incident, which requires documentation of average playtime prior to the incident. He also explained that a jury will need to be convinced that Adair’s statements towards Kiersten show beyond a reasonable doubt that she was being discriminated against.

David is a regular contributor to Newsmax due to his position as a subject matter expert on first amendment and civil liberties litigation cases and their relation to the functioning of public institutions.

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