aside Nick Sandmann’s Parent’s Hire PR Firm To Fix His Image Disrespecting A Native American Elder

Covington Catholic High School has received national attention in the wake of videos showing students from the school mocking Native Americans outside the Lincoln Memorial after a rally in Washington. Lisa Cornwell/AP Photo

By now, anyone who’s plugged into what’s been happening in the news are well aware of what happened on Martin Luther King weekend on the 18th Of January 2019 when a young man Nathan Sandmann with other high school students from Covington Catholic High School, after a day of participating in a March for Life rally while near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, can be observed disrespecting an elder Native American advocate for Indigenous causes, Nathan Phillips

A 64 year old Native American, Nathan Phillips, became worried as tensions appeared to be escalating to where he borrowed a drum. He then headed towards the teenage boys where he could insert himself between them and the Hebrew  Israelites to start chanting a Native American prayer. 
Most videos gone viral, start here at the 2nd photo below, when the young man Nick Sandmann can be seen in a staring exercise, invading the personal space of Mr. Nathan Phillips.
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Officials at the Covington Catholic High School have announced that a 3rd party investigation would be done and that if appropriate, the boys could face expulsion. The Bishop Roger Joseph Foys apologized for the behavior of these Covington High School young men which has earned him a lot of negative feedback. This was just for starters as a media frenzy ensued.
Update on 1/25/19: The local bishops have been falling all over themselves to apologize to these Covington Catholics HS students for a rush to judgment before the completion of this 3rd party inquiry.
Meanwhile the parents have hired a PR firm to present a more nuanced presentation of what happened. The PR firm helped Nathan Sandmann craft his statement that was released to the public on January 20.
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Update on 1/25/19: As per a 1/23/19 Think Progress report, “Sandmann’s family hired a well-connected PR firm to spin the story. RunSwitch, whose co-owner Scott Jennings is an adviser to House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and is a CNN contributor, pushed the story Sunday that Nick and his peers were the real victims. After neglecting to disclose its ties to RunSwitch, CNN shared Sandmann’s statement, and the rest of the mainstream media, with its bottomless mercy for white boys and bottomless suspicion for people color, gobbled it up.”
To add salt to these racially charged passions, President Trump has extended an invitation to these young men to visit the White House.
In real time, Nick Sandmann’s version of events has Mr. Phillips confronting him where he just stared. His intent was to do nothing to escalate whatever was happening. I’m not buying his explanation as he could have done 2 things to show respect to an elder gentleman. He could have stepped backwards to give Mr. Phillips more space and he did not have to engage in a staring contest, as he gave that teenage smirk that drives any parent, nuts.
This map shows the area of the Capitol and Supreme Court.
There is no doubt in my mind that Nick Sandmann owes Mr. Phillips an apology. And no, I don’t care if he thinks that he was right in his claim that it was Mr. Phillips who invaded his personal space by inserting himself in front of the young man. Frankly, the photos above belie this version.

I do not credit either the Hebrew Israelites or these teenage boys from Covington, KY., with clean hands.

In addition, I place some of the fault with the adults who thought it was okay for these youngsters to wear MAGA red caps. These boys were making a political statement with their apparel which they may not have intended, while representing a religious school which is supposed to be a tax exempt organization, not promoting a particular political party. If I had been a parent in attendance, they would have been wearing t-shirts while carrying signs advertising their pro-life religious stance.

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Here is the rest of the story…

On January 22, 2019, Ellen Cranley of the Insider penned the following report, “A Kentucky PR firm was reportedly behind high schooler Nick Sandmann’s statement on his viral confrontation with a Native American protester”


  • “A Kentucky public-relations firm was reportedly behind the statement from the high schooler at the center of a confrontation with a Native American protester at a Washington, DC, march.”
  • “The Louisville Courier Journal reported that RunSwitch PR was behind the statement from Nick Sandmann, who said he was compelled to speak out to “correct misinformation and outright lies” that he had seen in the wake of the incident going viral.”
  • “The statement was central to the viral incident’s changing narrative, which prompted apologies and revised statements from outlets and social-media users after extended video footage was released.”
  • “Nathan Phillips, the Native American demonstrator, dismissed Sandmann’s statement on Tuesday (1/22/19) as unabashed and partially false and offered to visit Covington Catholic High School.”

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“A video of a confrontation between high-school junior Nick Sandmann and Native American protester Nathan Phillips at the Indigenous Peoples March went viral last week and was promptly condemned by many on social media as a racist incident.”

“The statement from Sandmann, which was published Sunday, was the result of consultation from a Kentucky public-relations firm, the Louisville Courier Journal reported on Monday (1/21/19).”

“Sandmann reportedly worked with RunSwitch PR before releasing the statement to “correct misinformation and outright lies.”

“When the Courier Journal asked the firm about its role, RunSwitch said in a statement it “has been retained by the Sandmann family to offer professional counsel with what has become a national media story.”

“We are working with the family to ensure an accurate recounting of events which occurred this past weekend,” the statement continued.”

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“School and diocese officials issued a statement of their own over the weekend condemning the group’s actions and saying that the incident is under investigation and that students could face expulsion.”

“In a Tuesday statement, Phillips said he would be willing to meet with the students as a representative of the Indigenous Peoples March and dismissed Sandmann’s statement as unabashed and partially false.”

“I have read the statement from Nick Sandmann, the student who stared at me for a long time. He did not apologize, and I believe there are intentional falsehoods in his testimony,” Phillips said. “But I have faith that human beings can use a moment like this to find a way to gain understanding from one another.”

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Mr. Phillips marches with other protesters against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, ND, on February 22, 2017. Terray Sylvester/Reuters

What Sandmann said in the statement

In the video of the incident that first circulated on social media, a grinning Sandmann is shown in a “Make America Great Again” hat standing inches away from Phillips. The students around Sandmann were chanting and dancing along with the songs Phillips and surrounding protesters were singing and drumming.

In the statement, Sandmann said he decided to remain “motionless and calm,” in an attempt to “diffuse the situation.”

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“Regarding his facial expressions, Sandmann said he “wasn’t intentionally making faces at the protestor,” but “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.”

“In a general rebuke of all the allegations that have been leveled against him by people who have seen the original clip, Sandmann said they don’t reflect his personal character.”

“Phillips offered to visit Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky to “have a dialog about cultural appropriation, racism, and the importance of listening to and respecting diverse cultures.”

See: How the story of a clash between a boy in a MAGA hat and a Native/ VOX…


See: Nathan Phillips on viral encounter with Nick Sandmann: ‘I forgive him/ Today Show’

Here’s where we’re at with the MAGA hat–wearing Covington boys/ Vice

Statement of Nick Sandmann, Covington Catholic High School junior/ CNN …

Is This Picture from a Covington Catholic High School Basketball Game?/

We’re failing as a community’: In Kentucky, divisions grow / LA Times…

Covington Catholic videos show life is complicated. But we still saw / USA Today…Story image for MORE VIDEOS COVINGTON BOYS from The indy100 Video shows alleged Covington Catholic High School teens / indy100


  1. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    Here’s a full, thoroughly research article with complete information of the events … Question: why is there a need to hire a PR firm to fix a teen’s image? I think the kid is the reflection of the parents … white privilege at its best!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear Horty,

    The young man Nick Sandmann would be a lot better off if he accepted responsibility and if he apologized to Mr. Nathan Phillips.

    The PR firm will be bucking tons of videos painting a different picture.

    This scenario hits home because it reflects the racial division within the US which has been exacerbated by President Trump deliberately inflaming of these tensions.

    Thanks a million for all of your support and for this reblog.

    Hugs, Gronda


  3. I definitely think the chaperons in charge let this situation get way too far ahead of them. Those caps were grossly inappropriate for those boys to be wearing. There was more than one thing wrong with this confrontation. 😦 — Suzanne

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Suzanne,

      I’ve been in a difficult situation where my teenage son instincts were to fess up, apologize and to accept responsibility for something he did wrong. There were adults in the room who were advising him to take a different tactic. Fortunately, he called me for advice. I backed him up and things worked out in his favor.

      I say this because I can say with confidence what I would have done as I’ve been in a similar situation.

      This is a turning point in these young men’s lives. The school and adults could close ranks and participate in a cover up but this would end up hurting them all because there’s too much data out their to discount Nick Sandmann’s version, in its totality.

      If it were me, I would invite Mr. Phillips to the school to talk to these young men. It truly would be best if their hearts were moved to look at what happened in a more constructive vein.

      Transparency could do a lot to heal these young men and maybe others. I only wish that Papa Francisco would invite these young peoples to the Vatican as a counter message to that of President Trump.

      Thanks a million for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

      • These young people are going to a Catholic school but are not given proper instruction as to how to act. When I was in Catholic high school the nuns instructed all who rode the bus that they wore the school blazer and were, therefore, representing the school. We were to show the utmost courtesy, especially to older people. We were to get up and give our seat to our elders. If anyone called the school and complained, they were apologized to and we all got a lecture on the failure to be a good Catholic and behave properly. Politics should not have entered into the situation and just made it worse. A PR firm is not the way to go. That boy’s values are being formed and it sounds like he’s being taught how to work his way out of situations instead of being honest and truthful and apologetic. He’s an upperclassman at the school and should know that by now. It sounds like he didn’t know how to behave properly in the situation and he set a bad example for the younger students. What a shame. I hope by the time he comes of age he knows how to properly behave. I tried, and seem to have succeeded, in raising two children who behave properly and care about others. 😦 — Suzanne

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Suzanne,

          I believe you when you describe your Catholic school upbringing.

          I worry about this Covington Catholic HS having conservative priests who have inserted politics and the backing of President Trump into the school’s everyday culture. President Trump is the last role model that I wold want any young man to emulate. I know that I’m speculating but I did notice a priest in the background observing these young men at the Lincoln Memorial Park who did nothing that I would have done under similar circumstances.

          The school should be promoting values that have nothing to do with politics but with the principles that you mentioned. These young people in a social studies or history class is where they should be debating political points of view. Even Pope Francis is against the denial of climate change, the wall, the anti-immigrant sentiment as advertised with those red MAGA caps.There is room for respectful, fact based debate of differing perspectives.

          And I wouldn’t want these young peoples to be wearing Democratic Party apparel. What I’m saying, is that it had better not be the priests who are creating this toxic culture at this high school. These kids deserve better.

          This story bothers me a lot as I don’t like what I’m seeing, being tied to a Catholic School where its priority should be developing young men with solid, decent , honorable characters. These are supposed to be our future leaders.

          I feel so sad for these young men.

          Hugs, Gronda


    • Dear Mary Plumbago,

      Thanks for adding this reference but I’m in tears. This tells me that what I was suspecting but was hoping to be wrong, is probably true.

      This story will NOT SIT well with parents who would like to send their children to a Catholic High School. After hearing this story, the last place I would want to send any young person to, is to this school. Whoever is in charge of this school is not just harming the reputation of just this one school but all Catholic Schools.

      There was another young man in the news from this school:

      As per 12/11/18 WKRC Local 12 station, “An 18-year-old Burlington man has been charged with rape and sodomy after allegedly attacking a woman several times Sunday.”

      “The Boone County Sheriff’s Office says Jacob Walter raped and sodomized the woman throughout the day. The victim told the sheriff’s office she was afraid of Walter due to his size, strength and aggressiveness and told Walter she didn’t want to have sex with him, but he held her down and forced himself on her. He also reportedly pulled her hair and choked her.”

      “Walter is 7-feet tall and weighs about 300 pounds.”

      “The victim reportedly told him to stop and that he was hurting her, but said Walter dismissed her by laughing and telling her she would be fine.”

      “The sheriff’s office said the victim told a family member about the assaults. That family member was able to get Walter to leave the residence and contacted the sheriff’s office to report the assaults. After he left, Walter reportedly called the victim multiple times, saying he was sorry.”

      “The sheriff’s office said the victim sustained injuries on several parts of her body, including contusions on her arm, breast and buttocks and lacerations to her anus.”

      “Walter was arrested Tuesday and is currently being held in the Boone County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond.”

      “Walter is the son of Joe Walter, who played for the Bengals. He was formerly a basketball star at Covington Catholic High School, helping lead the team to a state championship in 2018. He graduated in 2018 and had committed to play for Xavier University in August 2017 but he never enrolled or suited up for the team. Xavier officials never gave a reason why.”

      This story is pertinent as there were Covington boys at the Lincoln Memorial caught on a video chanting something like, “it isn’t rape if she says she likes it.”

      After the Kavanaugh story where his time at Georgetown Prep HS, another Catholic institution was never fully investigated, I can’t help but recall the stories that were in abundance about how their teenage boys treated young ladies, my hackles are up.

      I pray that this is not another scandal in the making.

      Hugs, Gronda


  4. These children have learned from their parents. And the reason Donald Trump is so supportive? They are exactly who he was at that age. Their disrespect, lack of compassion … look at that smirk again … it so reminds me of Trump’s. At their age, Trump tried to push a fellow student out of a 2nd story window over some minor dispute. These kids are being groomed in Trump’s image, so of course he will help them spin their story and welcome them with open arms. I am sickened.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Jill,

      It took me awhile before I could tackle this story but I did it more out of obligation. I truly took my time to review the photos, videos, news reports with different perspectives before I made any judgments.

      I get that the parents could be supporters of President Trump and that the parents could be influencing the young man Nick Sandmann’s thinking and attitude which is bad enough.

      But that the Catholic School could be reinforcing these attitudes that we saw on display on 1/18/19 by these Covington Catholic High School boys at the Lincoln Memorial Park who did behave badly, is unconscionable.

      I expect better from any organization who refers to itself as part of the Catholic faith,

      After what I observed, I would never want to be associated with Catholicism. I would never consider sending my children to a Catholic School.

      For some reason, I have been in tears over this story. Those Hebrew Israelites were misbehaving but so were those boys.

      Those boys are our future generation and I’m disheartened and saddened. Take a look at that reference noted by Mary Plumbago which I found disturbing.

      Thanks a million for all of your support and for this reblog.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

      • That was exactly why I just couldn’t write about it. So many different versions of what happened, who did and said what, and when. It had my stomach churning every time I saw a story about it or a Facebook post. It seems there is enough blame to go around, but like you, I hold the parents and the school accountable. I was sent to Catholic schools all but one year of my 12 years (I got in so much trouble that one year, that the next year I was relegated back to Catholic schools! 😀 ) But never in 11 years was I given to believe that it was okay to hurt others, to taunt and mock. I was taught respect (and more often than not, the lesson was administered with a steel-edged ruler!). Times surely have changed. I am horrified that Trump is making the situation worse by siding with the boys and inviting them to the White House. More of his white supremacy. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Everyone by now has heard and seen this story, seen the disputes over who did what, who was the victim. These children are an example of what unconscionable, rich, greedy, arrogant adults produce. Sickening. Gronda has done what I couldn’t even start to do in writing a post about this situation … please take a moment to read her excellent work. Thank you, Gronda, for I couldn’t even tackle this one just yet.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Wealthy parents attempting to disguise the rotten behavior of their son. This sickens me. I have said it before and I will say it again: this man has turned over a rock and all sorts of ugly critters have crawled out. (And he invited the boys to the White House — brilliant!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Hugh,

      I know that you have been an educator. This story has to be disturbing to you. It’s bad enough that those wealthy parents are teaching their son, Nick Sandmann the wrong life lesson by helping him to white wash his bad behaviors with the hiring of a PR firm, but that the school may be reinforcing them, is what has me in an uproar.

      I’ve known so many peoples who have attended Catholic Schools who present themselves as impressive decent, honorable peoples. I used to give them a lot of credit for providing a solid education to so many young peoples.

      Take a moment to read the reference by Mary Plumbago. It’s an eye opener.

      Hugs, Gronda


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