In what turned out to be a “he said, he said” altercation, an Oklahoma Native American with autism said he was accosted and physically attacked by a White House official for wearing a Washington Redskins jersey.
College student Barrett Dahl, a member of the Choctaw and Sac and Fox Nation tribes, said he wore the jersey to both celebrate the city’s NFL team during his visit there and to commemorate his Native American ancestry.
Clip via News 9, Oklahoma City
When Dahl attended a Washington, D.C. Pow Wow last year, he said he was approached by William Mendoza, the executive director of the White House Initiative of American Indian and Alaska Native Education.
“He comes to me and calls me the name weetard — not retard, weetard,” Dahl told Oklahoma City’s News 9. “‘You’re a weetard for not understanding Redskins is offensive.’”
Mendoza is an outspoken critic of Native American images being used as mascots, according to the station.
Mark Zaid, Mendoza’s lawyer, said his client asked Dahl about his jersey on bended knee.
A White House official on bended knee? That’d be a first.
Mendoza claimed the jersey said on the back, “Injum Pimp;” Dahl said it said “Injun Player.”
Dahl said Mendoza continued to aggressively question him.
“‘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,” Dahl explained.
The brouhaha continued when Dahl tried to exit the Pow Wow; each said the other threw the first punch. According to Dahl’s 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.”
Dahl said that as a result of the fracas, he’s had to undergo multiple surgeries. Mendoza’s lawyer said Dahl is the one who threw the first punch.
“Should Mr. Dahl continue to malign Mr. Mendoza he will have no other choice but to pursue all available legal remedies,” Zaid said.
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