The teen who was seen standing face-to-face with an Omaha tribal elder in what has been described as a hostile confrontation denounced what he called "outright lies" in an interview with NBC News on Sunday.
Nick Sandmann, a junior at Covington Catholic High School in Covington, Kentucky, told NBC that he was actually trying to remain calm to defuse the tense situation.
"I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor," Sandmann said in the interview.
The viral video shows Sandmann standing very close to the Native American man and staring at him as he sang and played the drum. Other students -- some in "Make America Great Again" hats and sweatshirts -- were chanting and laughing.
The Native American, Nathan Phillips, told The Associated Press he approached the Kentucky students to keep the peace between them and a third group of protesters.
VIDEO: Nathan Phillips: 'Put myself in dangerous situation'
Sandmann faced a lot of backlash as he was described by critics as smirking and trying to stare down Phillips, NBC reports.
Sandmann told the The Associated Press that students were waiting at the Lincoln Memorial for buses to return to Kentucky on Friday when four African-American protesters there began insulting them.
"They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would 'harvest his organs,'" Sandmann said. "I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear."
Sandman said the students began yelling "school spirit chants" to drown out the protesters and he did not hear students chant anything "hateful or racist at any time."
KPRC 2019/ AP 2019