Sen. Rubio Urges Biden to Permit Navy Graduate to Play in NFL Connecticut Huskies wide receiver Cameron Hairston (87) attempts to receive the ball while defended by Navy Midshipmen cornerback Cameron Kinley (3) during the game as the Navy Midshipmen take on the UConn Huskies on November 1, 2019, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire) (Icon Sportswire via AP)
By Brian Freeman | Sunday, 20 June 2021 10:01 PM
Sen. Marco Rubio sent a letter on Sunday urging President Joe Biden to grant a waiver delaying Naval Academy graduate Cameron Kinley's service in the armed forces to play in the NFL, The Hill reports.
The Florida Republican cited previous administrations that have allowed military athletes to pursue pro sports careers.
“In years past, the U.S. Department of Defense has issued many waivers to allow athletes to temporarily delay their service to our nation to pursue their professional sports dreams,” Rubio wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately, Mr. Kinley seems to be the exception, and without reason.”
Rubio stressed that Kinley, who was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent, “is not seeking to terminate his commitment to the Navy. Far from it. He wishes to promote service to our great nation from one of the country’s largest stages. I implore you to right this wrong.”
The senator added that Biden should, “Grant Mr. Kinley’s waiver to play in the NFL, and send a message to future academy graduates that the United States is a country where Americans can follow their dreams and be true to their commitment.”
Earlier this month the US Navy denied a request by Kinley to delay his military service.
In a statement to CNN, a spokesman for the Secretary of the Navy told CNN that, "When students accept admission and continue their education in this program, there is an understanding and acknowledgement that they will upon graduation be commissioned. Every Midshipman attends on the same terms and each has the same responsibility to serve. Exceptions to that commitment to serve have been rightfully rare."
The Navy's policy has constantly changed in recent years. Graduates of the service academies are required to serve in active duty for five years after graduation.
However, four graduates from other service academies have been permitted to not fulfill their service commitment this year.
Kinley wrote in his statement that "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."
He added that "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 life-long dreams before fulfilling my service requirement."