Volleyball player sues university and coaches after she was frozen out for ‘conservative beliefs’


Kylee McLaughlin, 22, said she was branded a racist and frozen out of her volleyball team

Kylee McLaughlin, 22, said she was branded a racist and frozen out of her volleyball team

A standout former University of Oklahoma volleyball player is suing her coaches and the school claiming she was labeled a racist and excluded from the team because of her conservative views.

Kylee McLaughlin, 22, said she was left disenfranchised because her political beliefs didn’t align with her coaches and teammates.

The former Sooners All-Big 12 player, who has since transferred to the University of Mississippi for her final year, is suing OU, coach Lindsey Gray-Walton and assistant coach Kyle Walton for $75,000 each over five complaints.

They include one alleged infringement on her First Amendment rights and the case is pending in Oklahoma City federal court, The Oklahoman reported.

The complaints center around the team’s actions following last year’s murder of George Floyd.

The volleyball team decided to hold discussions about white privilege and social justice, McLaughlin claimed, and players were made to watch the Oscar-winning documentary 13th which explores race and justice in the US prison system. 

McLaughlin is suing OU, coach Lindsey Gray-Walton and assistant coach Kyle Walton for $75,000 each over five complaints

McLaughlin is suing OU, coach Lindsey Gray-Walton and assistant coach Kyle Walton for $75,000 each over five complaints

McLaughlin is suing OU, coach Lindsey Gray-Walton and assistant coach Kyle Walton for $75,000 each over five complaints

McLaughlin said team treatment drove her to transfer from the University of Oklahoma (pictured) to University of Mississippi

McLaughlin said team treatment drove her to transfer from the University of Oklahoma (pictured) to University of Mississippi

McLaughlin said team treatment drove her to transfer from the University of Oklahoma (pictured) to University of Mississippi

During a team discussion on June 11, McLaughlin said it was a left-wing film which  ‘took some shots’ at Donald Trump, her lawsuit states.

It also states that she said that black Americans are disproportionately incarcerated ‘mostly for marijuana and drugs’.

At least one black teammate later said she found the comments racist, the lawsuit alleges.

Players were made to watch the Oscar-winning documentary 13th which explores race and justice in the US prison system

Players were made to watch the Oscar-winning documentary 13th which explores race and justice in the US prison system

Players were made to watch the Oscar-winning documentary 13th which explores race and justice in the US prison system

The following day, McLaughlin responded with laughing emojis on social media after it was reported that some University of Texas students wanted to replace the school spirit song The Eyes of Texas because of its origins in minstrel shows.

A number of Texas and OU volleyball players criticized her post online but McLaughlin stated she believes the song is not racist and Texas should keep its tradition.

Her lawsuit claims she was ordered to delete the post by Gray-Walton and call the Texas women’s volleyball coach and players to apologize.

The legal document says: ‘Although (McLaughlin) supports equality, social justice, and finds racism despicable, she disagreed with the WOKE culture and critical race theory advocated and practiced by two of her coaches who are the Defendants in this action.’

She said coaches and administrators later told her she did not fit in with the culture and gave her three options to continue at the university without playing time.

The complaints center around the team's actions following the murder of George Floyd last year which sparked global protests

The complaints center around the team's actions following the murder of George Floyd last year which sparked global protests

The complaints center around the team’s actions following the murder of George Floyd last year which sparked global protests

She was given the choice of transferring, continuing on scholarship as a non athletic student or taking a redshirt year, keeping her scholarship and practice separately from the rest of the team.

McLaughlin claimed coaches and administrators told her she did not fit in with the culture and gave her three options to continue at the university without playing time

McLaughlin claimed coaches and administrators told her she did not fit in with the culture and gave her three options to continue at the university without playing time

McLaughlin claimed coaches and administrators told her she did not fit in with the culture and gave her three options to continue at the university without playing time

During the redshirt year, she was made to carry out more than 10 hours of online diversity and inclusion training, she said.

In her lawsuit, she states the university and coaches violated her free speech rights after casting her in a false light by accusing her of being a racist and a homophobe.

She also claims they hindered her possible career in professional volleyball, coaching or athletics.

The lawsuit asks the judge to specify the amount to compensate for future economic loss.

McLaughlin, who played a key role in helping OU reach the NCAA tournament in 2019, transferred to the university the previous year after a freshman season at Oregon State University.

In 2016, she was named the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year while at Hebron High School in Carrollton.

The university and McLaughlin’s representatives refused to offer a comment on the lawsuit while Gray-Walton did not respond to the Oklahoman’s requests. 



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