Cameron Kinley puzzled why Navy won’t delay his commission for an NFL pursuit

NFL: MAY 14 Buccaneers Rookie Minicamp
Getty Images

Undrafted defensive back Cameron Kinley‘s bid to make the Buccaneers is over for now. Kinley is puzzled by acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker’s decision to deny Kinley’ request to delay the football player’s commission.

“I have hopes that this situation will soon be overturned, and that I can get back to competing on the field and representing the U.S. Navy,” Kinley wrote in a long missive on Twitter.

Kinley was the U.S. Naval Academy’s 2021 class president and captain of the football team. He gave a speech and introduced Vice President Kamala Harris during a commencement ceremony last week.

In 27 games, he made 88 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack, an interception and a forced fumble.

“Recently, I was informed that my request to delay my service in order to play in the NFL was denied by the Secretary of the Navy,” Kinely wrote in part. “I have spent the past week processing my emotions, as it is very difficult to have been this close to achieving a childhood dream and having it taken away from me. In 2019, President Trump endorsed a policy titled the ‘Directive-type Memorandum (DTM) – 19-011 — Military Service Academy Graduates Seeking to Participate in Professional Sports.’ This policy allows academy graduates to delay their commissioning in order to pursue professional athletic opportunities. 2019 was the first year for the policy to be put into action with players such as Malcolm Perry (Navy/Dolphins) and Elijah Riley (Army/Eagles) reaping the benefits.

“Currently, I have four other counterparts who have not been denied the opportunity to participate in the NFL: Jon Rhattigan (West Point/Seahawks), Nolan Laufenberg (Air Force/Broncos), George Silvanic (Air Force/Rams), and Parker Ferguson (Air Force/Jets). While I acknowledge that these men are from different branches of the armed services, it puzzles me as to why I am the only person to be denied this opportunity.

“I am very aware of the commitment that 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 information warfare community. However, I am deserving of the opportunity to live out another one of my lifelong dreams before fulfilling my service requirement.”