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Dayton apologizes for athlete-soldier comparison

Gov. Mark Dayton has apologized for comparing athletes' on-field trauma to that suffered by military personnel.

"Some of the psychological dynamics may be similar," Dayton said in a statement released Thursday. "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."

Dayton said he made a "poor analogy" in Tuesday's Minnesota Public Radio interview in which he said players are "heavily armored, heavily psyched to do what they have to do and go out there. It's, basically, slightly civilized war."

In the interview, he said football players "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."

He was commenting on recent news accounts indicating that more Vikings get into legal trouble than players on other professional football teams. The most recent was star running back Adrian Peterson being arrested in a Houston bar.

Minnesota jobs grow

Employers added 7,200 jobs in June, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Ecumenical Development announced Thursday.

At the same time, the percentage of people without work remained at 5.6 percent for the third straight month. The national unemployment rate was 8.2 percent.

The June job gains came after three months that showed jobs were lost in the state. In May, 4,700 jobs were cut.

"The state is outperforming the country in several key sectors, including construction, manufacturing and financial activities," DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips said.

Professional and business services jobs showed the most gain last month, up 5,100. Government increases followed closely at 4,400.

On the other hand, leisure and hospitality jobs fell 2,300 in June.

Debates set

Minnesota's two hottest U.S. House primary election races will be featured on public television debates.

All three 8th Congressional District Democratic candidates will appear on "Almanac" this weekend and the two Republican hopefuls in the 1st Congressional District are scheduled for next weekend.

"Almanac," originating at Twin Cities Public Television, will host Jeff Anderson, Tarryl Clark and Rick Nolan for a live broadcast at 7 p.m. tonight.

The three Democrats are fighting to win the Aug. 14 primary election to face Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack in the November election. The district serves northeastern and east-central Minnesota.

On July 27, the show hosts Republicans Mike Parry and Allen Quist, engaged in a battle across southern Minnesota to face U.S. Rep. Tim Walz on Nov. 6.

"Almanac" is rebroadcast several times during the weekend statewide on the Minnesota Channel of public television.

Don Davis is the Minnesota Capitol Bureau reporter

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