A star volleyball player and conservative Christian has filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Oklahoma, claiming coaches on the women’s volleyball team punished her for her views, excluded her from the team, and violated her free speech rights.
What are the details?
Kylee McLaughlin — who was the team captain and a first team All-Big 12 player for the Sooners in 2018 and 2019, according to OU Daily — named head coach Lindsey Gray-Walton, assistant coach Kyle Walton, and the school in the suit for a minimum of $75,000 in damages for financial loss, humiliation, and mental anguish and suffering, KFOR-TV reported.
The suit said that during the COVID-19 pandemic and after the death of George Floyd, the team “emphasized discussions about white privilege and social justice rather than coaching volleyball,” the station reported, adding that players were required to participate in discussions and watch a documentary on racism and slavery. OU Daily said it was the Netflix documentary “13th.”
When Kyle asked McLaughlin for her opinion on the documentary, according to the suit, she replied that while slavery was wrong, the film was slanted “left” and was critical of then-President Donald Trump. When asked for more input, the suit says McLaughlin replied with commentary directly from the documentary — that black people were incarcerated at a higher rate than other racial groups despite representing a smaller overall percentage of the population.
Following that discussion, a teammate accused McLaughlin of racism in a social media post, the suit says.
The suit adds that Gray-Walton in a 90-minute phone call “ordered” McLaughlin to remove a social media post that used a laughing clown emoji in regard to the University of Texas wanting to abolish its fight song, “The Eyes of Texas,” due to its alleged racist content and history. In addition, Gray-Walton told McLaughlin she needed to identify the “white privilege” inside her, the suit says.
Days later, the suit says McLaughlin was called a “racist and a homophobe” during a Zoom meeting with incoming seniors, coaches, and a representative from the school’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. And despite McLaughlin’s attempt at an apology, the suit says it wasn’t accepted since it lacked sufficient “feeling.”
McLaughlin later called the University of Texas volleyball team to apologize for her “Eyes of Texas” post, the suit says.