Covington Junior Nick Sandmann's statement regarding Nathan Phillips incident

"I said a silent prayer..." Nick Sandmann is the teen that stood face to face with Native veteran Nathan Phillips.

CNN's Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper has just released the full statement of Covington Catholic High School junior, Nick Sandmann, regarding the event involving Nathan Phillips, Covington Catholic High School students and other protestors at the Lincoln Memorial on Friday.

The tweet, which was posted at 6:59 pm est on Sunday contains a two-and-a-half page typed out statement from Nick Sandmann, who identifies himself at the top of the page.

Minutes after the tweet by Tapper, many are responding that the statement paints an overly rosy picture of what happened. Others are siding with Sandmann and are even suggesting Phillips meet with the students.

Some of the responses to the tweet are as follows:

Lyle Robinson @StealthFlyBy tweeted: "It's likely an adult helped him write it, but it doesn't mean the content isn't true, from his perspective. If I were his parent and I genuinely believed his account I would help him write it if I thought he needed the help. It's what parents do. There are conflicting accounts."

Tina Olson-Wilkins @tinaolson tweeted: "Watching the longer video, I feel like the kids just got a really extraordinary opportunity to evolve thanks to Mr. Phillips & media response. I think this letter, whoever wrote it, reflects a growing process that we should ALL appreciate. Hate is taught, they just got re-taught."

Bonnie Samuel @Sonia554 tweeted: "So we still have the question of where the chaperones were. Any one of them could have prevented this. If you feel an adult from outside your group is encroaching, do you really just let it happen?"

LM @shayne571 tweeted: "No way he wrote this, lol."

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe wrote on Twitter that the statement was not an apology.

Here is his statement in full:

Statement of Nick Sandmann, Covington Catholic High School Junior, Regarding Incident at the Lincoln Memorial

I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me.

I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 5:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do sightseeing.

When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.

The protestors said hateful things. They called us "racists," "bigots," "white crackers," "faggots," and "incest kids." They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would "harvest his organs." I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group.

At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant "build that wall" or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors.

After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn't previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.

The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

During the period of the drumming, a member of the protestor' s entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we "stole our land" and that we should "go back to Europe." I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was still in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.

I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protestor. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.

The engagement ended when one of our teachers told me the busses had arrived and it was time to go. I obeyed my teacher and simply walked to the busses. At that moment, I thought I had diffused the situation by remaining calm, and I was thankful nothing physical had occurred.

I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I've ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.

I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to Iive up to the ideals my faith teaches me - to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

I harbor no ill will for this person. I respect this person's right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should re-think his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.

I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family's name. My parents were not on the trip, and I strive to represent my family in a respectful way in all public settings.

I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults. One person threatened to harm me at school, and one person claims to live in my neighborhood. My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue.

I love my school, my teachers and my classmates. I work hard to achieve good grades and to participate in several extracurricular activities. I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen - that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African Americans or Native Americans. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that.

I cannot speak for everyone, only for myself. But I can tel I you my experience with Covington Catholic is that students are respectful of all races and cultures. We also support everyone's right to free speech.

I am not going to comment on the words or account of Mr. Phillips, as I don't know him and would not presume to know what is in his heart or mind. Nor am I going to comment further on the other protestors, as I don't know their hearts or minds, either.

I have read that Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the United States Marines. I thank him for his service and am grateful to anyone who puts on the uniform to defend our nation. If anyone has earned the right to speak freely, it is a U.S. Marine veteran.

I can only speak for myself and what I observed and felt at the time. But I would caution everyone passing judgement based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas.

I provided this account of events to the Diocese of Covington so they may know exactly what happened, and I stand ready and willing to cooperate with any investigation they are conducting.

###

This is the only statement that has been made by the Sandmann family. Any comments attributed to any member of the family that is not contained in this document are fabricated. The family will not be answering individual media inquiries.

--- end of statement ---

Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling

Email - vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com

Comments (44)
No. 1-11
Half-breed
Half-breed

You've got to be kidding me??!! So this white boy was trying to stop the black protesters? So he's the police trying to disfuse a situation with a shit grin on his face in Mr.Phillips personal face "while saying a silent prayer?" Wow! And yeah his statement that boy didn't write that himself. Everyone knows everything ends up on the internet theses days so act accordingly, and if you can't don't pull some bullshit and blame every race but your own which in your case is "white privilege". This kid just seriously brought Native Americans and African Americans into his excuse for his behavior all while wearing his white power uniform! If you expect sympathy good luck white privilege!! You deserve everything coming your way for your disgusting behavior!

JackBilly71TL
JackBilly71TL

As i understand Nathan Phillips was "trying the situation" with Phillips and his entourage of people hold cameras interceding. The Frejo (next to Philips) character complained later of the "Maori'" cadence dance being mis-used and disrespected! Will the Maori chant has been so watered down and mis-applied with the tacit approval of the Maori-i ("western") that it doesn't hold any "meaning" anymore! Using the Maori-i chant the at Hollywood, public opening premier of "Acquaman"? using the Maori-i chant at major, public Sporting venues and arenas. I am surprised the Maori-i chant hasn't been on USA daytime TV for the "Ellen TV Show"? .......>Day 3 of the spectacle for USA TV - Good Morning America, but FINALLY, the corporate TV sensors are acknowledging there are more "sides" to the storyline they originate injected on Saturday night.....FAKE NEWS was the original cover story! (but that is changing every so slightly)

maryflanagan
maryflanagan

Please also read: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/20/us/nathan-phillips-covington.html I have not seen the video of Nathan Philips approaching the school group, but I have seen video showing the "white boy" in question standing very respectfully, even solemnly as Mr Philips prayed in front of him; the smile came later. The others in the school crowd? I have a hard time understanding what they are saying, but I would not be surprised (but saddened) if some were disrespectful. A post yesterday remarked that the worst of this is the ignorance of the crowd (black and white) of the intent of Mr Philips in his prayer. I would agree with that and hope that the good that might come from this is at least dialogue about prayer, different forms of prayer, seeking common ground rather than immediately going for the kill--which is what I'm afraid was the intent of the initial reports and truncated video. Anyone who has worked with teens I think would attest that they do not always have poise, do not always make sober and reflective decisions. The MAGA hats? My guess is that most of the boys did it as a lark (great souvenir, huh?!) not as a political statement. What I cannot overlook are the adults on all sides making violent threats, using prejudicial and hateful invective, and intentionally misrepresenting an already difficult situation. There was more complete video posted almost immediately after the initial clip went viral. Why didn't anyone--including you, Mr Schilling--seek the bigger picture? Where is the investigative journaling? Do we really take a post and video from a hate-spewer and just run with it?

David Odell
David Odell

The reply reads very much like standard operating procedure for Catholic PR firms and tries to have it both ways. If the actions of the boys do not reflect your values and morals, then you must admit failure in your education model. From the historical perspective it does fit into the repeated actions and behaviors of the Vatican, and the Doctrine of Discovery is yet to be revoked. The militant catholicism of late that has grown exponentially, is in tandem with the abuse scandals exposed at a level that has caused a great deal of discomfort financially. This event and reply is all too familiar to anyone who keeps track of the church. It is the product. The diocese and school should not only reformulate their 'apology' but should extend a formal letter of gratitude to Nathan Phillips for providing a free lesson. The denial reminds me of the behavior during the trial for the 440 victims in the Jesuit/Gonzaga scandal involving predatory priests on reservations.

Tejas Rob
Tejas Rob

So when will Nathan Phillips and Indian Country Today apologize for what they have done? This kid has nothing to apologize for. He was just standing there and Phillips walked up to him and started banging the drum in his face. Phillips has been telling lie after lie about the incident.

He claimed they were chanting build the wall when they weren't. He claimed they were menacing the black racist group when they weren't. These kids were at their assigned meet up spot to catch their bus home and were harassed by the black racists, Nathan then put himself in the situation along with some racists guy who spouted racist crap to the white kids.

I think Nathan meant well but he went about it wrong and instead made the situation worse. He should have sang to the hateful black racist who had been harassing Natives all day and saying vile racists things to both Natives and these kids. He needs to apologize to these kids for what he said about them, likening them to a lynch mob and telling lies about them. Nathan should be ashamed, he is an elder and has set a very bad example here.

Liadan
Liadan

This boy just lied over and over again in his statement. He states that the crowd parted to let Mr. Phillips by, when they clearly didn't. He stepped in and blocked Phillips and refused to take one step to the side to let him by.

He states he heard no vulgar language, but a video on this site shows a kid in glasses yelling the F word at a Native, and Sandman clearly tells the kid to stop that language. That was a good thing, why lie about it?

How does he explain the mocking tomahawk chops, the fake racist 'Indian' whoops and dancing? How does he explain his mom falsely labelling the blacks as Muslims and stating they were yelling at the boys. They were actually yelling at the Natives, until the boys started yelling at them.

How does he explain his schoolmate getting so worked up he literally stripped his clothes off as if preparing for a fight? Or other boys picking up ice and snow chucks and tossing them up and down as if preparing to throw them at the blacks.

And it was the students who advanced towards the blacks, the blacks hadn't moved an inch! That was when Phillips intervened and probably saved those students from injury. Did he get a thank you? Nope.

Michael Reed
Michael Reed

The only people who believe that little Nazi are other nazis. Cov Cath is a White Supremacy School that refuses to let valedictorians speak if they are gay and that actively protects known rapists until the end of their sportsball seasons.

That little backwards savage from barbaric Europe and their constant genocides was there to be hurtful and insulting.

Given I also live in Covington Kentucky I want to testify that the city is more progressive than Flint, Michigan where I grew up and the nazi trash at CovCath are all suburban punks from the surrounding redneck hills. I hope I have a chance to see them on fire some day, because I would not bother to urinate on them, instead I would get some flour, salt, and soda and cook up some fry bread.

papa_r0n
papa_r0n

New,unedited,full length videos are showing this as being a LIE,created the Liberal FAKE NEWS and Nathan Phillips! Even Liberal,Associated Press is reporting that this isn't the first time Nathan Phillips and his people have pulled this,choreographed "I'm a victim,Stunt !

Michael Reed
Michael Reed

You support a candy ass draft-dodger and can fucking die in flames for all I care.

I punch Nazi punks like you without a mask..

Condorman
Condorman

When is this site correcting/ posting the news that Nathan Phillip is a never deployed to Vietnam marine?

ANoydAmI
ANoydAmI

His father hired a speech writer and a PR firm.