The U.S. Navy has denied Cameron Kinley’s request to defer his mandatory military service in order to play in the National Football League.
Kinley, Navy’s 2021 Class President and football team captain, graduated in May and then signed on as an undrafted free agent with the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Hoping to fulfill a childhood dream, Kinley applied to delay his military service in accordance with a rule re-established by then President Donald Trump in 2019 that allows military student athletes the opportunity to play professional sports before their military service begins.
“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,” said Kinley in a statement posted to Twitter Monday.
My personal statement regarding the Navy’s denial of my request to delay my service: pic.twitter.com/AsNLEPdF1Z— Cameron Kinley (@ck3thethrill) June 7, 2021
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker declined the request and will not allow him to appeal the decision.
Kinley was not the only football player from a service academy to make the same request for the upcoming NFL season.
“Currently, I have four other counterparts who have not been denied the opportunity to participate in the NFL,” said Kinley.
The other four are West Point’s Jon Rhattigan, and the Air Force’s Nolan Laufenberg, George Silvanic, and Parker Ferguson. All four have signed with NFL teams. All four were granted their deferment.
“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,” said Kinley.
Kinley was a guest on Wisconsin’s Afternoon News Wednesday. Listen to the full conversation above.