Statements from Nick Sandmann – Young Man In Video with Nathan Phillips

Posted By Paul G January 20th, 2019 Last Updated on: January 24th, 2019

Social media has exploded this weekend with reaction to the videos of Nathan Phillips and a group of students from Covington Catholic.

The student seen most prominently in the video is Nick Sandmann.  He has released a statement today.  See below for his statement.

Watch the full video of the incident.

Statement from Nick Sandmann:

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 live 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 tell 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.

Home » Blog » Statements from Nick Sandmann – Young Man In Video with Nathan Phillips

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R Smith

Having a high paid P.R. firm work on your behalf is quite helpful.


He should have just turned around and walked away. No reaction is the best reaction. Staying there just showed that Nick wanted a confrontation.

The strongest person always walks away!

Private Person

So Nathan, an adult, should have walked away from the students, a group of teenagers?


It was a “lose-lose” situation. If he was not there to mock or confrontational, he should have made room and got out of the way? Pulling a $250 million lawsuit shows that he is not stupid or sorry? From mocking, to wanting pity, to being greedy. Ain’t that America 🤠


Did I see Nick Sandmann today on TV at the Xavier basketball game?


There is something positive to say amongst all of this:
In the extended video (nearer the end) there are 3 high school boys in sincere dialogue with the Israelites. Hard to believe, I know, but they set a good example for how 2 opposing viewpoints can & should converse in a non-controversial manner. And I don’t recall any of that dialogue being outrageously disrespectful.

Ganolvsgi Agasgi

well im half white,half cherokee. i like to say i see both sides but have to be honest. i sided at first solely with nathan.i wanted to punch the kid in his face when i first saw the edited video .after watching everything i see what i believe to be the more accurate proof and thanks to others with observant insights . those boys were being played by the media. those super religious hebrew ites ,the ones that so believed to practice what they preach,laid their holy bible directly on the dirty ground while they spewed on half truths and perceived interpretations from the apocrypha .already knew they were full of crap ,but to me, that one detail about the bible being so well thought of to be placed directly on the ground..i wish i knew how much they got paid to stir up trouble and divide? i have suspicions of by whom they were paid.native people like Mr nathan, have faced prejudice and injustice enough in their lives to maybe and understandably not see things clearly about the boys or what they were smirking about…they are 16. besides not understanding at all what the drum and music meant, they thought it was funny because they don’t understand.it is unfamiliar to them.they tend to see and hear the untrue ridiculous lies as funny.not like men tend to do in anger. maybe the boys didn’t see clearly that mr . nathan was trying to diffuse the situation in his own way ,but to them it came off as misunderstood.no one was in a clear state of mind after the fake zealot attacks of the self professed hebrew dudes ,called blacks who dismissed their interpretations as uncle toms,and native people who disagreed were uncle tomahawks. the disrupters,disrupted …the boys laughed but were also hurt and angry for being called unproven ridiculous vile things.native people were angry because this was to be their day there but spoiled partially by outside idiots.this was planned by someone to disrupt and create more of a divide between all of us.those boys are good boys…not perfect,but like all of us. people are people.and mr. nathan deserves our full respect too.i think he is honest and brave and does what he thinks is right…that’s a good man in my book,and he seems to care about the future. both should become friends and defeat the intended purpose.there are way bigger fish to fry without looking at each other with hate and indifference.just think how strong we would be if we could forgive the past but all of us recognise much of it was wrong.that keeping ones word when given ,means keeping ones word AS given.


Except there has been no explanation for why Mr Nathan 1st started the boys surrounded him, then talked of their obvious hatred & anger, them that he was scared but refused to back down? We wouldn’t be discussing this if he had refused to invade the personal space of a child! He walked up as close as possible then encroached closer with his drum. Elders are supposed to lead by example! We expect them to be wise, especially when they place themselves in the position of aggressor. Why are so many expected the child to be wise than the elder? Seeing most of the natives commenting have such disdain for the child because he is white. I expect my elders to lead! We are supposed to be wiser, peaceful, and the ones striving for understanding and seeking respect. The white child knows not of our ways.


This discussion board could have been talking about the serious issues highlighted by the Indigenous Peoples March. But the ‘unwise’ elder’s group stunt has distracted from that. And they have used ‘creative editing’ of their whole film in the process to highlight a desired narrative ( which had me fooled). You are right – he should bear the responsibility.
The boy was naive to stay in front of that camera – even if it was brave to do so – even if it was ‘cool’ to do so – it was foolish in this you tube age & kids should be aware of that.
I think Nathan Phillips & his group should be called out for distracting from the real issues facing Indigenous People of the world!
In the end what happened that day was what I face every Saturday shopping in the city.


why can’t you be human first and foremost? Try not to hate


Israelite worship is strongly based on the moon and saturn.
Passover is the suns equinox, to deny that is deluded and blind.


The Black Israelites were calling native people there for the march “$5 indians” and “Uncle Tomahawks” yet everyone is offended by a minor kid who was told to stand on the stairs and wait for the bus. Nathan Phillips walked past the four adults yelling the most vile things to children not to mention natives and instead confronted the children who were not saying anything. I think the Black Hebrew Israelites should be cited for child abuse, the teachers of the kids should be reprimanded for leaving the kids alone, the kids school should give cultural sensitivity training along with every other school in the country, we should get rid of racist names in popular culture like the Redskins, and Nathan Phillips might want to give more space and not confront kids told to wait in one space cuz some wont move. I would have told the Black Israelites not to pick on kids dump their hate on me if they must and act like men.


What a thoughtful reply. I was offended when I saw the movie and the smug way in which the student stared down the Elder. I personally wrote a letter to the school expressing my disappointment.

As I read this apology I saw things from a different perspective and I feel grateful that he took time to explain himself. Even if there was a touch of smugness, I believe it was for reasons that he stated (he was trying to not back down nor further infuse the situation). He is young. Should he have moved-yes likely, but I believe, like most people, he is doing what he can do be the best that he can.

Public shaming and death threats hurt us all.


Why is the impodus on the child to move & not the elder, who is supposed to set an example, to not walk up as close to a child as he can get and then band the drum inches from his face?


The “smug” look is how some interpret it. Others may see just a smile, or they may see the face of a boy who cares about people but hasn’t figured out all the nuances of how to communicate non-verbally.

Ann Mason

If you’re as respectful of all nationalities as you claimed, then why didn’t you remove your hat out of respect when Mr Phillips offered his medicinal song? Didn’t your parents teach you proper respect? I think not.


How was the child to know the difference between a fellow target of the Black Hebrew Islamists, the elder offering a “medicinal” song or a war dance?!
I am Native! I would not allow anytime to invade my child’s personal space. Respect is a two way street! Why didn’t the elder approach the other adults? Why come within inches of a child’s face?
Why are some of y’all calling him pinko, saying he needed to return to Europe & other garbage that in no way speaks to how we try to carry ourselves??
Have y’all watched the full video posted by the Black Hebrew Islamists?? You are dismissive of it like you have but I don’t see how you could have & still see such vile hate!
The bhi are the ones that commented build the wall, build the wall, why don’t you build it yourself? At the children, between attacking the natives for being “Uncle Tomahawks” & repeatedly saying we would burn in hell because we worshiped totemPOST, Buffalo, she’s, goats, water, fire, wind, the elements & more!

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