Gov. Mark Dayton apologized Thursday morning for remarks he made on a radio show Tuesday, in which he compared the problems of NFL players who’ve been arrested to those facing veterans returning home after deployment in combat areas.
He had said both groups sometimes have difficulty adjusting to normal society.
Speaking on MPR radio, he’d been asked about the many arrests of Minnesota Vikings players, in the context of his huge support for the state’s half-billion-dollar subsidy to help build the team a new stadium.
Dayton called the players’ legal problems, including the most recent arrest of Adrian Peterson in Texas, “troubling.”
The Vikings lead the league in arrests since 2011, with 10, nearly twice as many as any other NFL team. The Vikings have had 39 arrests since 2000, which is also a league high.
Dayton issued this apology in a statement emailed to the media:
“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.”