Mark Dayton apologizes for comparing troubled football players to soldiers back from war

One of these jobs looks slightly more dangerous than the other.
One of these jobs looks slightly more dangerous than the other.
Photos: Wikipedia.

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    It's no secret that the Minnesota Vikings have a hard time staying out of trouble off the field. As we reported last year, between fights, DUIs, driving into traffic officers, and the infamous Sex Boat Scandal, the team leads the NFL in arrests.

    Earlier this week, in light of Adrian Peterson's recent scuffle with an off-duty cop in Houston, Gov. Mark Dayton tried to offer an explanation as to why football players tend to get in trouble.

    In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, Dayton compared the problems of athletes like Peterson -- a 27-year-old with a $36 million-dollar contract -- to those of soldiers returning from war and trying to readjust to society.

    Strangely, a lot of people thought one of those kinda sounded a lot better than the other.

    From the interview:

    "Shake one of their hands and you know that this is somebody that is not your ordinary citizen. I mean, they're heavily armored, and heavily psyched to do what they have to do, and go out there in what is basically a slightly civilized war. And then they take that to society. Much as soldiers come back, and they've been in combat, or at the edge of it. And suddenly that adjustment back to civilian life is a challenge."

    Dayton issued an apology for the poor choice of words Thursday morning, saying, while some of the "psychological dynamics" may be similar, it's not fair to compare the two. Here's the full apology:

    "In a recent interview, I was asked why so many professional football players had difficulties off the field. I made a poor analogy, by saying that the psychological adjustments they have to make from their contests to normal society were not unlike the difficulties experienced by returning veterans.

    "Some of the psychological dynamics may be similar; however, I, in no way, meant to compare their challenges with the traumas and hardships experienced by the heroes who fought in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. While I am a football fan, I reserve my highest respect and admiration for those courageous Americans in uniform, who risk their lives to keep us safe and to make the world more free.

    "I regret my mistake, and I apologize for it."

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