Oklahoma Native American Says He Was Attacked Over Redskins Shirt
OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma college student visiting Washington D.C. on a school trip, says he was beat up for wearing a Redskins Jersey. And the person he got into a fight with was a White House official in charge of American Indian education.
Barrett Dahl is Native American and a member of both the Choctaw and Sac and Fox Nations. He is also autistic. He says he wore the Redskins shirt because he was in Washington D.C. and because he sees it as a sense of cultural pride. However, when he showed up wearing it at a Pow Wow that's when the trouble started.
He says within seconds of sitting down he was approached by William Mendoza.
“He comes to me and calls me the name weetard not retard, weetard. ‘You’re a weetard for not understanding Redskins is offensive’,” said Dahl on Wednesday. The incident happened back on October 30 of last year.
Mendoza is the Executive Director of the White House Initiative of American Indian and Alaska Native Education, and an outspoken opponent of using Native American images as mascots.
Mendoza’s attorney, Mark Zaid, said Mendoza was traveling and unable to do an interview. Zaid said Mendoza approached Dahl on bended knee and asked him about his shirt that he said had the words "INJUN PIMP" on the back.
According to Mendoza's notes Zaid provided, Dahl replied by saying "I don't have to (expletive) explain (expletive) to you. If you want to step outside and take this outside, I'd be happy to explain it to you."
Dahl counters his shirt said "INJUN PLAYER" and Mendoza was the aggressor.
“Where are you from? You’re so stupid and uneducated. You don’t understand Redskins is offensive? And I tell him I’m from Oklahoma as I’m very proud to be and that’s when he spits on me,” said Dahl.
The two sides also disagree on who threw the first punch. Dahl said he tried to leave and get on an escalator and was attacked from behind.
This is what Mendoza wrote in his notes:
“Upon exiting the escalator, I ran into Barry again, coming around the corner. I reached out my hand and said, “My apologies for offending you.” He was holding a cup in his hand, at which point, he threw its contents that was the smell of coffee and was hot, but not scalding. He then punched me in the face (right cheek). I tried to grab him but we both fell.”
The ensuing fight left both men injured. Dahl said he had to undergo multiple surgeries on his hand and he still doesn’t have full use of it. He also racked up thousands of dollars in medical bills, and said he is planning on suing Mendoza.
Mendoza's attorney said Dahl's account of the events are false and defamatory he is considering legal action as well. “Should Mr. Dahl continue to malign Mr. Mendoza he will have no other choice but to pursue all available legal remedies."
Mendoza's attorney said there are multiple witnesses that will back up his side of the story but at the time this story aired, none of those witnesses had returned News 9’s calls.