Cameron Kinley: Navy rejects soccer captain’s request to delay serve and try NFL play

Kinley, president of the 2021 Navy class who graduated last month, had signed with Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted rookie cornerback and attended the team’s rookie minicamp two weeks ago. But in a statement on his Twitter On Monday, he said the Secretary of the Navy had rejected his request to delay his military service and said he was required to enlist in the US Navy as an ensign.

“I have spent the last week processing my emotions because it is very difficult to have been this close to making a childhood dream come true and having it taken away,” he said.

In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for the Secretary of the Navy said Acting Secretary Thomas W. Harker refused to forward late requests from recent Navy graduates to the Secretary of Defense.

“When students accept admission and continue their studies in this program, it is understood and recognized that they will be commissioned upon graduation,” wrote Captain Jereal Dorsey in the statement. “Every aspirant attends on the same terms and everyone has the same responsibility to serve. The exceptions to this commitment to serve have been rightfully rare.”

Cameron Kinley was captain of the US Naval Academy football team last year.

The co-founder of Divine Sports and Entertainment, who represents Kinley, said the Navy also denied him the opportunity to appeal the decision.

“He wants to make his two childhood dreams come true, to play in the NFL and to serve his country honorably,” said co-founder Ryan Williams-Jenkins.

The Navy’s denial is part of a policy that has changed several times in recent years. Graduates of service academies are generally required to serve on active duty for five years after graduation.

During the Obama administration, however, then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter issued a policy that allowed certain service academy athletes to be placed in reserve to play for professional sports teams. . The Trump administration repealed this policy in 2017 under the leadership of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, but then reversed its positions in 2019 after Trump mentioned the issue in a White House ceremony with the team. army football.
Army allows West Point graduate to sign NFL contract
Contrary to the Navy’s refusal, four graduates from other service academies were allowed to relinquish their service engagement this year. The four are Jon Rhattigan, a West Point graduate who signed with the Seattle Seahawks; Nolan Laufenberg, an Air Force graduate who signed with the Denver Broncos; George Silvanic, an Air Force graduate who signed with the Los Angeles Rams; and Parker Ferguson, an Air Force graduate who signed with the New York Jets.

“While I recognize that these men are from different branches of the military, I wonder why I am the only person being denied this opportunity,” Kinley wrote in her statement.

“I am very much aware of the commitment I made to service when I first arrived at the United States Naval Academy. I look forward to my career as a Naval Officer in the community of information warfare, however, I deserve the opportunity to live out another long-standing dream of mine before meeting my service requirements, ”he added.

Kinley played 27 games during his four-year college career, totaling 88 total tackles, one interception and 12 defended.

A number of Navy graduates went on to play in the NFL, most notably Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, who won two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys in the 1970s. In recent years, three Navy graduates have been drafted by NFL teams including long snapper Joe Cardona in 2015, wide receiver / running back Keenan Reynolds in 2016 and running back Malcolm Perry last year.

CNN’s Jill Martin and Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.

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