Covington Catholic Teen Nicholas Sandmann: I Had ‘Every Right’ to Stand There


The Covington Catholic high-school student whose face-off with a Native American drummer sparked outrage and debate says he had “every right” to stand his ground, but, in retrospect, wishes he and his classmates had avoided the entire situation. Nicholas Sandmann told NBC News he doesn’t feel like he was disrespectful to tribal elder Nathan Phillips during the encounter at the Lincoln Memorial, where the March for Life and the Indigenous Peoples March intersected. “I respect him, I would like to talk to him,” Sandmann said in an interview that will air Wednesday on Today. Initial snippets of video of the encounter drew widespread condemnation, including an apology from Sandmann’s school. A longer video that emerged later showed Phillips had approached the school group and triggered criticism that the media and social-media commentators had jumped to conclusions about who, if anyone, was at fault. Asked if he was to blame, Sandmann said: “As far as standing there, I had every right to do so.” He added, “I mean, in hindsight, I wish we could’ve walked away and avoided the whole thing.”