Omaha Elder Says He Forgives Covington Students, Calls Sandmann Interview ‘Coached’

Nathan Phillips
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Omaha elder Nathan Phillips told the “Today” show that he has “forgiveness in my heart” for the Covington Catholic High School students whose treatment of Phillips at a protest at the Lincoln Memorial over the weekend went viral, but he still believes the student at the heart of the incident has not been sincere in his explanation of events.

“Coached and written up for him, insincerity, lack of responsibility, those are the words I came up with,” he said when asked about student Nick Sandmann’s response to the incident. Sandmann told the “Today” show on Wednesday that he didn’t think he owed anyone an apology.

“But then I went to go pray about it and I woke up and I woke up with this forgiving heart and I forgive him.” Phillips said.

In videos and photos shared of the encounter, it appears that Sandmann was behaving disrespectfully toward Phillips — appearing to mock Phillips and other Native Americans. Video showed the Covington students surrounding Phillips as he walked through the crowd and played a drum. Sandmann stared at Phillips while smirking, which prompted intense backlash. In response, Sandmann has argued that he was singled out by Phillips and was trying to remain “motionless” in order to defuse the situation.

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