Mark Dayton: NFL players like soldiers returning from war

The NFL has been hit with a damaging flurry of arrests and accusations in the last several days, and Minnesota's governor thinks he knows at least one of the reasons.

"Idle time is the devil's play," Gov. Mark Dayton told Minnesota Public Radio on Tuesday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "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.

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"Shake one of their hands and you know that this (football player) 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."

Dayton was specifically defending Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, but Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, Denver Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil and Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch are all currently in the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Peterson was arrested in a Houston nightclub on July 6 and charged with resisting arrest. Police say an off-duty officer asked him to leave when the club closed and the player refused, shoved the officer and assumed a violent stance. Peterson'a lawyer has said his client didn't touch anyone and is innocent. His misdemeanor case is set for Aug. 6.

"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?"

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