Jul 7, 2021 - Sports

Pentagon to allow Naval Academy graduate to play in NFL

Picture of Cameron Kinley
Cameron Kinley. Photo: Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Naval Academy graduate Cameron Kinley will be allowed to pursue a career in the NFL, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Tuesday.

The big picture: Austin said that he had granted a waiver to Kinley so that he can play professional football, adding that "[u]pon completion of his playing time, we look forward to welcoming him back inside the ranks as a naval officer."

Catch up quick: Kinley was blocked from playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month after President Biden's acting secretary of the Navy, Thomas Harker, reversed a Trump-era policy that permitted service academy graduates to pursue careers in professional sports.

  • Kinley was required to report for duty on June 28, before starting at intelligence school in October, where he would have been for six months before his duty station assignment.

What they're saying: "I am extremely appreciative of Secretary Austin's decision and I am excited to represent our fine military in the National Football League. This past month has been very challenging and I am thankful for everyone who has supported me in any way," Kinley said in a statement.

  • "Sometimes in life God tells us to be still. We do not always understand what He is trying to show us, but He always has an ultimate plan," he added.

President Biden also commended Austin's decision, saying: "I am confident that Cameron will represent the Navy well in the NFL, just as he did as a standout athlete and class president at the Naval Academy."

  • "After his NFL career is over, he will continue to make us proud as an officer in the United States Navy," Biden said.
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