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Minnesota governor apologizes for comparing NFL players to soldiers

Barack Obama AP

After further review, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton doesn’t think guys like Kellen Winslow Jr. are f–king soldiers.

Two days after a clumsy radio interview in which Dayton linked the NFL’s crime wave to:  (1) idle time; and (2) a military-style mindset that makes it hard to turn the violence switch to the “off” position, Dayton has apologized for the second prong of his proposition.

I regret my mistake, and I apologize for it,” Dayton said in a statement.

Dayton, who apparently was riffing his way through an on-air chat with Minnesota Public Radio, tried to offer broad generalizations for bad behavior among pro football players.  His swing-and-a-miss disrespected the many law-abiding members of the military and NFL players who have no problem stepping away from the battlefield and gridiron, respectively, and functioning as responsible citizens.

Dayton’s idle-time take was less offensive, but still flawed.  Plenty of people have idle time (like teachers in the summertime), and they don’t find themselves filling the boredom by posing for mugshots.  For football players, it’s a jambalaya of idle time, youth, money, testosterone, the pursuit of females, alcohol, and/or a strange, symbiotic willingness to do things in a group that they would never do alone that often lands one or more of them in a jackpot.

Still, there’s no excuse for it, especially when their employer is trying to hammer home at every turn the importance of making good decisions — and the consequences of making bad ones.

Dayton made a bad one on Tuesday, and we’ve got a feeling he will no longer shoot from the hip regarding the psychology of pro athletes.

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17 Responses to “Minnesota governor apologizes for comparing NFL players to soldiers”
  1. ironhawk says: Jul 19, 2012 3:27 PM

    It’s true though. They do come home and spend their off time causing violence because they can’t shut it off. He shouldn’t apologize for the truth.

  2. thegreatgabbert says: Jul 19, 2012 3:49 PM

    There are soldiers, then there are common foot soldiers, then there are the lowly football soldiers.

  3. jeagan1999 says: Jul 19, 2012 4:03 PM

    He should apologize! We all love football, but comparing the GAME these men play for millions of dollars a year vs. the real life duty of putting their lives on the line to defend our country and it’s citizens, for about the same salary that the beer concession guy at the stadium earns, is hardly a valid comparisson! Open mouth, insert foot, Governor!

  4. dryzzt23 says: Jul 19, 2012 4:13 PM

    Dayton is a liberal so of course he has no problem denouncing soldiers.

    There is no football player that is worthy of the respect and reverence that should be reserved for soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and Coast Guardsmen.

  5. pappavike says: Jul 19, 2012 4:20 PM

    The one thing said that I agree with is NFL players do have too much time doing nothing, That and a boatload of money thats a bad combo!

  6. mancave001 says: Jul 19, 2012 4:24 PM

    jeagan1999 says:
    Jul 19, 2012 4:03 PM
    He should apologize! We all love football, but comparing the GAME these men play for millions of dollars a year vs. the real life duty of putting their lives on the line to defend our country and it’s citizens, for about the same salary that the beer concession guy at the stadium earns, is hardly a valid comparisson! Open mouth, insert foot, Governor!
    ——————————–

    Yours is a strawman argument. He wasn’t comparing football to the military. He was trying to offer an *explanation for bad behavior.* While his comments were clumsy and somewhat ill-advised, they weren’t totally off-base. Football is sport that involves much aggression, physical prowess, etc… just as many jobs in the military involve do. He was making the statement that many of these young men…having been trained to be “warriors” of sorts…have trouble “turning it off” when presented with idle time. It’s not totally accurate, but not inaccurate either.

  7. bennyblanco99 says: Jul 19, 2012 4:33 PM

    Someone should ask Pat Tillman’s mother if being a NFL player is comparable to being a soldier…

  8. tdk24 says: Jul 19, 2012 6:08 PM

    Since when can’t we make comparisons?

  9. yajas says: Jul 19, 2012 7:26 PM

    Comparing 2 things is just finding a simliar trait between two objects, even though each object may exhibit that trait in different ways and magnitudes. It’s not saying the two objects are identical or deserve to be valued the same. The idea that people get ticked off any time someone compares something to war or being a soldier just blows my mind. It’s not disrespecting soldiers in any way.

    Maybe you disagree with the comparison and the apparent justification of some football players’ actions, which is fine. But to be offended by it is just ridiculous.

  10. rokusaburo says: Jul 19, 2012 8:31 PM

    dryzzt23 says:
    Jul 19, 2012 4:13 PM
    Dayton is a liberal so of course he has no problem denouncing soldiers.

    There is no football player that is worthy of the respect and reverence that should be reserved for soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and Coast Guardsmen.
    _______________________________

    You know, I signed up for an account just so I could reply to your childish, idiotic nonsense.

    Yeah I guess we’re not patriotic because we don’t want to send thousands of our fellow countrymen to die and see tens of thousands more come home injured and traumatized for wars based on lies, or because we don’t want to spend more on our military than the next 26 countries combined and still end up fighting people who live in caves for 11 straight years to prop up an Afghani government that hates us.

    Yeah, you’re a real patriot.

    Shame on you.

  11. Great Caesar's Ghost says: Jul 19, 2012 8:57 PM

    tdk24 says: Jul 19, 2012 6:08 PM

    Since when can’t we make comparisons?

    ___

    No kidding. Get over it, people.

  12. larryjames836 says: Jul 19, 2012 9:05 PM

    The NFL is changing so much that players don’t have nowhere to let off stream they can’t do it in practice anymore. So they let it out somewhere else but we looks at the players as if they are criminal sometimes they fun be taken away from them. A good hard hitting work out have them so burn out they will not have time for anything else put it on the NFL they the one giving the players free time. Taking away the hand on drilling running a few game plays and go home.

  13. txbossman says: Jul 19, 2012 9:06 PM

    I didn’t take offense to it, and I was a member of the US Army. He was trying, awkwardly, to come up with a parallel, and the military isn’t that far off from football. I’ve been involved in both, and there is a great deal of the same culture and mindset in both.

    I don’t think his remark is all that far off. The biggest factor, that he missed is the sense of entitlement that the best in football at every level have, and have been taught to have. I have been associated, from time to time with the best the Army had to offer in terms of “Top of The Game”, and they were nearly exclusively quiet, confident men that were more than happy to help and motivate those subordinate to them.

    That’s the divergence point I think

  14. mediasloppy says: Jul 19, 2012 10:14 PM

    dryzzt23 says:
    Jul 19, 2012 4:13 PM

    Dayton is a liberal so of course he has no problem denouncing soldiers.
    ——————–
    You are an idiot!

  15. barbeaux says: Jul 19, 2012 10:28 PM

    Espn often does trump athletes up as heroes and the such. They always try to hint that watching a sport fulfills people’s lives. In reality it’s just a temporary distraction.

  16. rcali says: Jul 19, 2012 10:30 PM

    On Sundays in the NFL, it’s a war out there! Okay, now everybody lose their mind.

  17. oldcracker says: Jul 20, 2012 3:01 AM

    I’m retired Army with tours in Vietnam, Panama, and Honduras. I didn’t take offense to his statements either. They were clumsy but not malicious.

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