Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) apologized on Thursday after he compared NFL football players to returning combat veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio, Dayton said that the off-the-field problems encountered by football players like Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who was recently arrested after an altercation with an off-duty police officer at a Houston nightclub, were comparable to some of the emotional, psychological, and post-traumatic stress difficulties encountered by combat veterans, because he felt football was “basically slightly civilized war.”
“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,” Dayton said in a statement. “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 said that while he was a football fan, he reserved his “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,” Dayton said.