- The Washington Times - Monday, January 21, 2019

The saga of the weekend encounter on the National Mall between a Native American and a group of high school students took another turn Monday.

A years-old video surfaced purporting to show white students at Covington (Kentucky) Catholic High School dressed in all black, some of them with their skin painted black, cheering at a basketball game.

“This won’t help Nick Sandmann’s case,” proclaimed the New York Daily News online, which linked to the video.

Nick, who was in Washington, D.C. over the weekend as part of the March for Life, is the student caught on video wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and facing a Native American man, Nathan Phillips. The encounter was virally framed as Nick “confronting” Mr. Phillips, although video from multiple sources and angles shows it was Mr. Phillips who initiated the contact and bewildered Nick.

Yet other videos have now come to light undercutting Mr. Phillips’ version of events, even as he himself faces questions about reports he’s a veteran of the Vietnam war.

According to multiple news accounts, the activist is 64 years old, which means he would have been 18 years old in 1973, the last year any U.S. combat units were stationed in Vietnam. Mr. Phillips also claims to be a Marine veteran, although the last Marine combat units left Vietnam in 1971.

A careful reading of Mr. Phillips’ own descriptions does not make clear if he ever set foot in Vietnam. Instead, he has used much more careful language claiming he is a “Vietnam times veteran,” an ambiguous phrasing that led many media accounts to conclude he was a combat veteran.

Mr. Phillips could not be reached for comment Monday.

Meanwhile, the unearthed video of Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky, shows students engaged in cheers over the years at basketball games and other events.

At some of the basketball games in the video, the school’s supporters are dressed from head to toe in black and handfuls of them appear shirtless with their torsos, arms, necks and faces painted black.

Body painting appears to be something of a tradition at the school, whose website had been disabled Monday.

In other clips students are painted blue, an homage to “Braveheart,” or white, for so-called “White Outs.”

It’s not known if any of the students involved in the incident on the National Mall over the weekend were seen on the recently discovered video clips, one of which dates back to 2012.

The Daily News and Reddit also featured a still shot that shows some in the student section hounding an opposing player who is African-American, and suggesting they taunted him because of his race. Such activity does not appear in the video link.

• James Varney can be reached at jvarney@washingtontimes.com.

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