The Slatest

Bishop Says He Was “Bullied” Into Condemning Teens in Face-Off With Native American

A screengrab from the viral video showing Nick Sandmann standing in front of veteran Nathan Phillips in Washington, D.C. on January 18, 2019.
A screengrab from the viral video showing Nick Sandmann standing in front of veteran Nathan Phillips in Washington, D.C. on January 18, 2019.

Bishop Roger Joseph Foys of the Diocese of Covington is sorry he was so quick to condemn. After lots of pressure from the community, the bishop of the diocese in Kentucky said he was “bullied and pressured” into condemning a group of students following a video that went viral showing how they faced off with a Native American elder in Washington, D.C.

“We are sorry that this situation has caused such disruption in the lives of so many. We apologize to anyone who has been offended in any way by either of our statements which were made with good will based on the information we had,” Foys wrote in the letter. “We should not have allowed ourselves to be bullied and pressured into making a statement prematurely, and we take full responsibility for it.” Foys wrote that he wanted to “especially apologize” to Nicholas Sandmann, who was featured most prominently in the video. “I especially apologize to Nicholas Sandmann and his family as well as to all CovCath families who have felt abandoned during this ordeal,” Foys wrote. “Nicholas unfortunately has become the face of these allegations based on video clips. This is not fair. It is not just.”

The Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School joined forces and released a statement shortly after the video of the stand-off went viral saying the behavior that was on display was “opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.” But once additional video showed a more complicated picture and led many to claim the students weren’t at fault, the diocese released another statement saying it would launch a third-party investigation. But a campaign was launched online to call on the diocese to retract its earlier statement and apologize to the students.