Gov. Mark Dayton issued a formal apology today for comments he made during an interview Tuesday on the MPR News program the Daily Circuit.
Dayton said he made a mistake by comparing the off-field difficulties of professional football players to the psychological adjustments of returning combat veterans. In a written statement, Dayton said the analogy was a mistake.
“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,” Dayton wrote. “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.”
During the Tuesday interview, Host Kerri Miller asked Dayton about the recent off the field problems of Minnesota Vikings players, including the Texas barroom arrest of Adrian Peterson. The governor offered his theory.
“Idle time is the devil’s play. They play basically six months of the year, from the end of July to the end of December, if they don’t make the playoffs. The end of January if they do. Then they have all this block of time, more than like any other professional athletes, when they really don’t have anything to do. It means that young males who are heavily armored and heavily psyched as necessary to carry out their job are more probably more susceptible to be in bars at 2:00 in the morning and have problems or DUIs or other things. It doesn’t excuse it. It just says it probably comes with it.”
Dayton later made the comparison that he now regrets.
“They’re heavily armored and heavily psyched to do what they have to do and go out there. It’s basically slightly civilized war. Then they take that into society, much as soldiers come back and they’ve been in combat or at the edge of it and then suddenly that adjustment back to civilian life is a real challenge.”