Native American protester Nathan Phillips has refused an invitation to sit down with the boys of Covington Catholic High School and has suggested that the boys be expelled from school.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby invited Phillips to take a first-class trip on his dime to "break bread and make amends" with the high schools boys with whom he had a confrontation. Phillips refused.
"On Monday, Ruby offered to fly Phillips first class to have dinner with the CovCath students at one of his high-end restaurants," the outlet reports.
"It's not the right time," Phillips told the outlet. "I might consider it at some point. There'd have to be certain assurances in place, give and take, and understanding."
Over the weekend, the Kentucky boys were smeared by the media for allegedly harassing Phillips, a Native man who served in the Vietnam War, based off a selectively edited video clip. Soon after the full video context came out, however, it was clear that the boys were the ones who were harassed and called homophobic slurs by another activist group; and they were the ones approached by Mr. Phillips, not the other way around. Mainstream media outlets like The New York Times were forced to walk back their initial one-sided reporting. It seems whispers of lawsuits from the boys' families triggered the journalistic backtracking.
Nick Sandmann, a junior at Covington and the boy at the center of the controversy, released a statement explaining his side of the story, wherein the teenager said he was trying to deescalate the confrontation and revealed he was saying a prayer to himself as Phillips continued to beat a drum in his face.
Phillips, who's called the students "beasts" in a past interview, claimed the high schooler "stole" his narrative.
"[Sandmann] needs to put out a different statement," urged Phillips. "I'm disappointed with his statement. He didn't accept any responsibility. That lack of responsibility, I don't accept it. ... He stole my narrative. From the time I hit that first beat of the drum until I hit the last beat, I was in prayer. Now all of a sudden, he's the prayer guy and the passive one."
Phillips also suggested the boys' expulsion remain on the table.
"At first I wanted the teachers and chaperones to be reprimanded, some fired, for letting this happen," he said. "For the students, I was against any expulsions, but now I have to revisit that."
"I'm just working for a better future for all of our children," continued Phillips. "But, I can't work with liars and thieves."
Speaking to The Detroit Free Press, Phillips sided with the Black Hebrew Israelite activist group who taunted the Covington boys, such as calling them the homophobic slur "f*ggot."
"The Black Israelites, they were saying some harsh things, but some of it was true, too," he said. "These young, white American kids who were being taught in their Catholic school, their doctrine, their truth, and when they found out there's more truth out there than what they're being taught, they were offended, they were insulted, they were scared, and that's how they responded. One thing that I was taught in my Marine Corp training is that a scared man will kill you. And that's what these boys were. They were scared."