Covington Catholic has an answer for everything. On Saturday, when a video depicting a “standoff” between a tribal elder from the Omaha nation and a group of their students donning “MAGA” hats went viral, chaperones at the Kentucky all-male high school claimed that the students hadn’t done anything wrong. But a video that has since leaked of Covington Catholic students donning Blackface at a basketball game in 2012 seems to tell a larger story.
On Monday, a short clip made its rounds on Twitter, showing a bleacher full of Covington Catholic students, many in all black with their faces painted black, performing a coordinated chant. Even more jarring is a still of the video that depicts students “yelling” at a Black player from the opposing team.
According to the fact-checking site, Snopes.com, the photo and video are in fact real and come from a now deleted compilation video posted on the school’s official YouTube page. Those familiar with the school’s practice of Blackface were quick to come to their defense, saying that it was a “tradition” for students to don all black for the school’s “blackout” games. But the video does little to help the case of the Nick Sandmann and the other Covington Catholic students involved in Friday’s standoff.
Over the weekend, the Sandmann family hired RunSwitch PR to navigate the media storm that erupted following the initial video’s release. In a statement, Nick Sandmann said, “I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.”
A longer video of nearly two hours showed that a third group of Black Hebrew Israelites also played a role in what took place in the nation’s capital on Friday. The extended clip led people on social media to defend the young men in “MAGA” hats and say their actions were mischaracterized. The Atlantic published two op-ed pieces on it warning people to “stop trusting viral videos” and a story on what happens when you do.
However, taking into account all sides and all videos (including students engaging in a “Tomahawk Chop” mocking the Native American marchers), something that remains consistent is that the young men were always accompanied by Covington Catholic chaperones/ advisors, and in each circumstance, the student’s behavior was offensive and exhibited some form of racism. At no point are chaperones seen intervening in the video from Friday, and in the clip that circulated on Monday, a teacher or coach was seen leading the Blackface-clad students in the chant.
So yea, it’s safe to say that Covington Catholic High School has a race problem, and at the very least have a problematic understanding of American history.