|Peterson wasn't ‘heavily armored' in this mug shot. (HPD)|
We've seen an inordinate number of players arrested in the past few weeks. From Elvis Dumervill to Dez Bryant, from Marshawn Lynch to Adrian Peterson, the crazy days of summer when football players are on their own and basking in their freedom have led quite a few to the backs of police cars (and a temporary lack of freedom).
Minnesota governor Mark Dayton thinks he understands why. Asked specifically by Minnesota Public Radio on Tuesday (via the St. Paul Pioneer Press) about why the Vikings have had 10 players arrested since 2011 and a league-leading 39 since 2010, Dayton gave an answer worthy of a clergyman.
"Idle time is the devil's play," Dayton said, referring to the NFL's offseason. "It means that young males who are heavily armored and heavily psyched as necessary to carry out their job are probably more susceptible to being in bars at 2 o'clock [in the morning] and having problems. It doesn't excuse it. It just says this probably comes with it."
But Dayton wasn't finished talking about heavily-armored players (we're unclear if he meant armored as in “football pads” or as in “firearms." Or both).
“Shake one of their hands and you know that this is someone who is not your ordinary citizen. They're heavily armored, heavily psyched to do what they have to do and go out there. It's, basically, slightly civilized war," Dayton said.
"Then they take that into society. Much as soldiers come back, they've been in combat or the edge of it and suddenly that adjustment back to civilian life is a real challenge. And that's part of the reality. That's not to say it's good and it shouldn't be improved. It should."
I can understand part of that, but soldiers in war zones live and breathe with chaos surrounding them, where death is just a breath away. Football players practice a few hours a day and play a game for three hours 16 Sundays a year. If we're talking about post-traumatic stress disorder, I'm not really sure it's the same thing.
Dayton also was asked about the recent arrest of Peterson, who was booked in Houston for allegedly resisting arrest when he supposedly had an altercation with an off-duty police officer.
"Adrian Peterson, who I've met several times and who has really proven to be an upstanding citizen and a really fine role model," Dayton said, "he claims he was not responsible for that altercation.
"I asked my own security people and they said it varies from one state to another but if a police officer was off-duty, in plainclothes, and so somebody assumes he's a bouncer, does that person have the authority to expect to be treated like a police officer? Where do you draw that line there?
"It's not black and white. It's shades of gray."
Just like much of what Dayton talked about Tuesday.
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