NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – A former University of Oklahoma women’s volleyball player is now suing the university saying she has been labeled as a racist due to being a conservative Christian, even choosing to transfer from the school.
“What I see is that her feelings are hurt and she’s filing a lawsuit because her feelings are hurt,” said Jacqui Ford, an Oklahoma City trial lawyer.
Former OU volleyball player Kylee McLaughlin says the University of Oklahoma violated her first amendment rights.
Head volleyball coach Lindsey Gray-Walton and Assistant Coach Kyle Walton are both listed as defendants in the suit.
According to the lawsuit, during the COVID-19 pandemic and following the death of George Floyd, the team “emphasized discussions about white privilege and social justice rather than coaching volleyball.”
Members of the team were required to participate in discussions and watch a documentary on racism and slavery.
When Kyle asked her opinion on the video, McLaughlin said, “it was slanted ‘left’ and that it took some shots at what President Trump said and compared it with beatings of Blacks from the 1960s.”
That same month, McLaughlin also asked to remove a social media post showing a laughing clown emoji about the University of Texas wanting to get rid of its fight song due to racial undertones.
She later called the UT volleyball team to apologize.
Weeks later, during a zoom meeting with coach Gray-Walton and other OU staff members, McLaughlin “was told she did not fit the culture of the program and they could not trust her based on comments she had made in the past.”
She was given the following three options: keep her scholarship, red shirt, practice only with the coach and receive diversity training, or she could keep her scholarship and just be a student, or she could transfer.
“When she’s creating a situation that is a hostile environment for some of her other teammates then the coaches must act to the benefit of her team,” Ford said.
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After initially choosing to red shirt, McLaughlin later transferred to the University of Mississippi.
“From what I can tell she hasn’t suffered any damages. She was given options to remove herself from the situation, so, she’s not damaged. I think that’s gonna be a huge obstacle for her and for her lawyers to overcome,” Ford said.
OU tells KFOR they are aware of the suit, but will not comment on pending litigation.
McLaughlin is also seeking damages of financial loss, humiliation and mental anguish and suffering for a minimum of $75,000.
We called McLaughlin’s attorney for comment but have yet to hear back.