That thing called “Duty”

| June 8, 2021

Midshipman Cameron Kinley

Captain of the Navy Football Team doesn’t count. The Navy has denied a request by Kinley to delay his military service to play in the National Football League. Graduates of the service academies are typically required to serve in active duty for five years after graduation.
During the Obama Administration, then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter issued a policy that allowed some service academy athletes to be placed on reserve status in order to play for pro sports teams. This policy was rescinded, and then re-instated by the Trump administration.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker denied Kinley’s request.

“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,” he added. (Emphasis added)

David sends.

Bucs rookie Cameron Kinley told by Navy he can’t play this season: ‘My childhood dream … taken away’

Jason Owens

After four years as a standout at the U.S. Naval Academy, Cameron Kinley signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in May as an undrafted rookie free agent. But when the Bucs start mandatory minicamp Tuesday, Kinley won’t be there. He will instead be required to immediately commission for the rank of ensign.

Cadets who attend the Naval Academy commit to active-duty military service after graduation. A 2019 policy directive allows for graduates pursuing a career in professional sports to delay their commission if approved by the defense secretary. Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker denied Kinley’s request and won’t permit him to appeal the decision.

Harker declined to forward any exception requests from recent Navy graduates to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, a spokesman for Harker told Yahoo Sports on Monday.

“Following discussions with senior Department of Navy leadership and in accordance with existing Department of Defense policy, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker declined to forward requests from recent Naval Academy graduates to the Secretary of Defense, seeking to delay their commissions,” Capt. Jereal Dorsey said in a statement.

This policy has never made sense to me. If his football is that good go to Alabama or Clemson, and leave the Academy seat to someone who wants it and raised their right hand to serve and complete their obligation.

Yahoo Sports

Thanks, David.

Category: Guest Link, Navy, Reality Check

Comments (66)

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  1. Martinjmpr says:

    What about that kid whose “childhood dream” was to be an officer in the world’s greatest Navy and who didn’t get to fulfill it because Kinley got into Annapolis instead?

    • MarineDad61 says:


    • Slow Joe says:

      For all of those below talking about good PR, if we need to motivate people to serve by doing PR stunts like letting this mofo Cameron Kinley walk away from his duty, we are fucking done.

      I don’t want no mofo joining the Army because of football. We join to fight and defeat America’s enemies. There is nothing else.

      So fuck that dude, taking the spot from someone that was willing to serve, fight and DIE for our country!

  2. George V says:

    Midn. Kinley should use the Google thing to look up a former midshipman named Roger Staubach. Looks like a good role model there.

  3. Sapper3307 says:

    Call of booty vs call to duty.

  4. Sapper3307 says:

    My money says he finds a way out religion/STD/Asthma.

  5. gitarcarver says:

    This policy has never made sense to me.

    The policy of allowing players to play professionally while serving in the reserves or other assignments always made sense to me.

    These are men (can’t find a woman who was in this situation) that represent the academies and whose stories are told nationally. It is a type of branding and advertising that you cannot buy.

    David Robinson came to a school I was working at while a San Antonio Spur as part of a recruitment drive. He was incredibly impressive in his uniform, was well spoken and the kids flocked to him because he was known to them.

    Instead of seeing just a basketball player, they got to see, listen and ask questions about what life at Annapolis was like.

    Military academy graduates who play sports professionally are more of a recruiter than any sponsorship deal for a NASCAR or stadium event.

    They embody the best of the best, and the kids and people get to see them, talk to them, ask questions and are motivated to go to the academies.

    I understand the reasoning for being against this, but having top level men out in the real world representing the academies and the military is more of a positive influence than allowing transgender people and CRT being taught in the service.

    • SFC D says:

      Athletes should not be “entitled” to an exception to any rule or regulation that any other academy wouldn’t get. That’s not how this works. It’s called equality. He made a commitment to the Navy. If he can’t or won’t fulfill it, he can write the Navy a hefty check.

      • SFC D says:

        Please insert the word “graduate” after the word “academy”. Thank you for your support.

      • Green Thumb says:

        I do not think the man was “entitled” if he received a professional tryout.

        When I was AD, I would be hard pressed to fond a Soldier that would think otherwise.

        He earned it. If he makes the team, move his status, delay it, etc. If he makes the team.

        If we can give “equality” a free pass in the Army, then this dude can get a shot.

        • SFC D says:

          He’s not entitled to a waiver to go play professional sports. He believes he deserves it. He’s entitled to fulfill the commitment he made to the United States Navy. And once that is fulfilled, he can go his merry way.

          • Green Thumb says:

            I get you point, I do. Particularly with respect to the word “entitled”. The kid maybe should have approached it a bit differently.

            I just say give him a shot.

            As I pointed out (at least in my experience) as an NCO and Officer, I would be hard pressed to find a AD Soldier )Officer or otherwise) that would deny him the opportunity.

            I never had a college football player under my direct command, but I had a wrestler, a basketball player and a baseball player. Obviously they were not good enough to go to the next level (maybe the wrestler could have gone pro – he was big enough and had the attitude to boot) hence military service.

            But the desire, dream and respect was always evident not only for themselves, but others who had the talent to maybe get a shot.

            Ain’t worth arguing about, but a window is a window. I do not see many 27 year old rookies out there. Additionally, a precedent has already been set.

            • SFC D says:

              Precedent has been set both ways, which precedent takes precedence? If his dream was to play in the NFL, he should’ve picked a different college.

              • Green Thumb says:

                Maybe. Maybe not.

                I wan an IN Officer. Not JAG.

                That aside, what is the difference between a USN (NA) Officer who gets sent to Colorado Springs to train for for five years and this guy? Say boxing? Say they have the talent. Or just a “chance” as many have stated.

                Get it is an amateur sport, but turn pro after 5 years (maybe) and walk into a nice job. Odd “take” one is an Olympic sport, one (football) is not. But both at high level’s of competition.

                Injury potential is still the same. So is the risk / reward. And hell, maybe adjust the contact for the NFL guy so that he has to continue 2-1 back on lost time.

                Over the years I started pulling for folks.

                No more, no less.

                • Green Thumb says:


                  And neither example would ever have to serve a day in their MOS / Branch, Rate, etc.

                  They would be training and be PR folks (directly or indirectly) if they were successful. Its a gamble, yes. But it might be worth the risk.

                  And once again, in all of my time in service, I would be hard pressed to find any rank and file Soldier not pulling for them.

                  And not just boxing and football, think running, track, wrestling, shooting….the list goes on and on.

                  Pool or ping pong, I get it. But athletic sports? The USN is shooting itself in he foot…..again.

    • QMC says:

      David Robinson immediately fulfilled two years of Active Duty service in the Fleet after graduating from the Academy in Kings Bay, GA. Spurs drafted him in 1987, but wouldn’t get to see him until the 1989-1990 season.

      He fulfilled his obligation to serve and still won the Rookie of the Year (1990), MVP (1995), two NBA Championships (1999, 2003), and mentored the greatest Power Forward of all time and (in my humble opinion) the greatest NBA player post-Jordan, Tim Duncan.

      So, how’s that for dreams still fulfilled?

  6. 5JC says:

    I don’t watch the NFL or go to the games anymore. Their deep dive in to openly supporting murderous gangster thugs was a bridge too far for me. I’m sure they will get along fine without me and the money I used to spend on them. Just like they will get along just fine without the Ensign.

  7. Graybeard says:

    “I am deserving” – Cameron Kinley

    No you are not, buttercup. That comment shows you are a self-centered wuss. You’ve entered the real world, where participation trophies don’t count.

    I root for Army over Navy, but my Navy brother and nephew are real men working their way to their goals and dreams the right way. Unlike you Cameron Kinley.

    You signed up for this – keep your word and become the man you ought to be.

    • Fjardeson says:

      Also, what with all the injuries, concussions, etc. and the fact that the average NFL player only lasts a few years and never achieves fame… He’s better off in the Navy!

  8. KoB says:

    SecNav (Acting) is pissed because of the (lack of) performance that (BEAT) Navy had against (GO) Army. Iffen they hada done a little bit more “Esprit’ d’ Team” on those weekends, mighta made a difference. Political pressure coming from CRT “wokes” to change this ruling in “reasons”. And NO, this cat wouldn’t have made the cut for the Aladambama Tide (rtr)! Clemson? Maybe, but I doubt it. What say you, ninja?

    Only sports “hero” I’ve seen was a Hero named Pat Tillman.

    • ninja says:

      KoB wrote:

      “What say you, ninja?”

      Our own beloved AW1Ed forgot to mention that Kinley could have also played for the University of Georgia..

      Herschel Walker, another great American Hero, could have been his mentor…



    • MarineDad61 says:

      My son graduated with Keenan Reynolds,
      who played well as a QB who runs,
      set NCAA records,
      was drafted,
      and got to (try to) play.

      It’s not about Navy having 2 recent lousy years,
      it’s about the individual player.
      Kinley is good, but not NFL drafted good.
      Like you say, possibly not Alabama / Penn State good, either.
      So, he can serve our nation 1st.

      • KoB says:

        Roger all that MD61. My dig was more at our beloved AW1Ed (gabn), than this past few seasons. I watch very very very little NFL, which I consider to be, now-a-days, underworked, overpaid, self centered, egotistical, cry babies that do not appreciate the freedoms that true Patriots have died to give them. And my attitude with them started before this whole kneeling thing came on. A lot of them have abandoned the Team Concept in favor of a me me me me I I I I. Many “teams” have very good individual players, but they don’t play as a team.

        One of the reasons that Aladambama has been so successful is Nick insists, as Bear Bryant did, that we are a TEAM, not a buncha individual Prima Donnas, and if you can’t be a TEAM Player yo azz is on the bench. Vince Dooley practiced the same idea way back yonder and it was TEAMWORK that made Walker so successful as a running back. Same as in the Military, Audie Murphy and Alvin York not included, the best way to take out an enemy position is with TEAMWORK, be it a gun/tanker/aircraft/ship crew or an Infantry Squad (Rifle TEAM).

        This Ensign to be doesn’t strike me as a Team Player, but more of a typical me me me I I I I player. This is the way I see this whole situation playing out. He will either play that special card that’s talked about or will have Heels Up Harris use her influence to override SecDef (Acting) decisions, sending this individual on to Tampa and either deferring his active duty service or placing him in the Reserves, only reporting for weekend drill when it doesn’t interfere with the football season or camps. And during his NFL career either find out he is not as good as he thought he was, or get injured in such a way to preclude him from EVER serving on active duty. Maybe she can find him a spot as her Aide-d-Camp. They could compare knee pads and their uses. Just my humble opinion.

        Oh and BTW, my comment above should have read “…I’ve seen lately…”

  9. ninja says:

    This is interesting.

    In a personal statement that Kinley posted on his Twitter account regarding the Navy’s denial for his request to delay his service, he wrote the following:

    “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), 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.”

    • SFC D says:

      Could it be we’re about to shuffle the deck and play a certain card? He knew the rules when he signed on. I award him zero fucks. Fulfill your commitment.

      • ninja says:

        SFC D:

        Great minds think alike when it comes to playing a certain card.

        Please see my comment below where I made reference to two immature individuals trying to persuade Kenley to use that card.

  10. ninja says:

    Cameron Kinley stated he is an Ambassador of Christ on his Twitter account:

    He made the following statement on his account:

    “Thank you for all of the support. I truly appreciate it. It’s in God’s hands and I’m at peace knowing that He has a plan for all of this.”

    Sadly, here are two responses that were posted on his statement…for some reason, Twitter has not deleted this response:

    “Fuck those crackers man, enough of the high road. If you were white they would have done it. Seeing a black man getting money hurts their white fragility”.

    Here is the other sad response:

    “Get POTUS and the VP involved! And if that fails get the Bucs and the NAACP
    involved and consider mediation/arbitration/suing.Also,don’t forget a digital campaign.”

    Such immaturity on those two individuals using a race card.

    This response to Kinley is on a higher level:

    “You were so blessed to have the opportunity to attend Annapolis. So many have that dream but don’t get the chance. You made the commitment and now you must honor it. Take a lesson from Pat Tillman, he was a man of great strength, patriotism, selflessness and integrity.”

    • Penguinman000 says:

      Mediation/arbitration/suing? Lol. Now that’s funny.

    • SFC D says:

      Jesus would tell him to do the right thing and honor his commitment to the Navy. Anything else makes this man a religious hypocrite.

  11. ninja says:

    Never Forget.

    “Remembering NFL Players Bob Kalsu and Don Steinbrunner Who Died In Vietnam War”

    “Stories from the Hall of Fame Archive: They would be the only professional football players to lose their lives in battle during the Vietnam War.”

    “Twenty-nine NFL personnel served in the military during the Vietnam War, including three Hall of Famers: Charlie Joiner, Ray Nitschke and Roger Staubach. Two professional football players, Buffalo Bills guard Bob Kalsu and Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Don Steinbrunner, would enlist and ultimately give what President Abraham Lincoln called “the last full measure of devotion” in his Gettysburg Address. They would be the only professional football players to lose their lives in battle during the Vietnam War.”

    “Kalsu, who entered the Army after his promising 1968 rookie season with the Bills, was killed July 21, 1970, following eight months of heavy combat. Lt. Kalsu’s unit fell under heavy fire while defending Firebase Ripcord on an isolated jungle mountaintop.”

    “Steinbrunner, who played offensive tackle in 1953 for the Browns, joined the ROTC while in college and was called to active duty following his rookie season with the Browns. Upon completion of a two-year tour of duty as an Air Force navigator, the Bellingham, Wash., native considered returning to the Browns, but instead opted to pursue a military career.”

    “In 1966, Steinbrunner was called to serve in Vietnam. Not long after his arrival, he was shot in the knee during an aerial mission and was offered an opportunity to accept a less dangerous assignment. He declined.”

    “According to his family, the 35-year-old Steinbrunner reasoned that he was better suited to serve his country than many of the younger, less-seasoned soldiers he had observed.”

    “It was a decision that would cost him his life.”

    “On July 20,1967, Steinbrunner’s plane was shot down over Kontum, South Vietnam. There were no survivors.”

    “The tie between the values and virtues taught on football fields across our nation and ones that yield great communities, a superior military and, ultimately, a great country are strong. Football teaches many great life lessons. As a game for life, it instills values such as commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence in those who play. These are the same ideals honored on the battlefield.”

    • Fyrfighter says:

      “The tie between the values and virtues taught on football fields across our nation and ones that yield great communities, a superior military and, ultimately, a great country are strong. Football teaches many great life lessons. As a game for life, it instills values such as commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence in those who play. These are the same ideals honored on the battlefield.”

      That may have been true in the 60’s / 70’s, but it damn sure isn’t now..

    • Just Lurkin says:

      For whatever reason that Charlie Joiner Vietnam claim jumped out at me and I googled some to see what there is to it. He is listed several times as having served, but it’s hard to see how. He was born in 1947, graduated high school in 1965 and graduated Grambling in 1969. He started his pro career with Houston that year and played there until 1972 and then went to another team. When did he have time to go to training, much less Vietnam?

      • USAF RET says:

        Rocky Bleier, Pittsburgh Steelers #1 draftee lost half of his foot fighting in Vietnam. Read “Fighting Back”

        • just lurkin says:

          I’m not disputing Bleier, I’m asking if there is anything to substantiate Joiner being in Vietnam (some sources only say that he served during that era, which might just be Guard/Reserves).

  12. 26Limabeans says:

    “to live out another one of my life-long dreams before fulfilling my service requirement”

    I knew a lot of guys who wished they could have
    lived out a life long dream before being drafted
    to serve in Vietnam.
    This guy reminds me of how Dr. Fauci wiggled out
    of his committment to serve after being allowed to
    delay it until finishing college on Sams dime.
    Then he sidesteps into a deep state government job.

  13. MarineDad61 says:

    Cameron Kinley is a little bit too full of himself.
    Let’s see if he makes it to O-2, without incident.

    Some get the opportunity. Most don’t.

    Keenan Reynolds (USNA 2016) deserved the opportunity.
    Winning seasons.
    NCAA records.
    Number (19) retired.
    Approved to play.

      • Mason says:

        Fauci never liked the label because it implied an unwillingness to serve in harm’s way. “As a physician,” Fauci said, “I felt if I had to go [to Vietnam], I would gladly do my part to try to help.”

        In other words, the Yellow Beret Fauci would serve, but only if forced to. What a hero.

        • 26Limabeans says:

          What rubs me is the article implies we should be thankful
          for a war that killed more than 58000 US troops and wounded
          a quarter million more. Otherwise Saint Fauci would never
          have had the opportunity to evade serving and become our savior
          so many years later.

        • timactual says:

          Maybe not heroic, but it sounds reasonable to me. I sure as hell didn’t volunteer to go. Neither did most of the other guys there. I met a couple or three who did volunteer, and some of them regretted that decision when they found that real life could be downright unpleasant.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      oops…meant to reply to myself..mea culpa.

  14. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Cameron Kinley got a choice four year College Degree at taxpayer expense and not a dime in student debt.
    Cameron Kinley is now obligated to a term of Military Service as an Officer JUST LIKE every other Service Academy Graduate.
    Cameron Kinley is going about acting like LeBron James.

  15. AW1 Rod says:

    He’s DESERVING? This self-entitled douche rocket received a premium education at taxpayer expense, and thinks he DESERVES to be able to disregard his service obligation in order to pursue his “life-long dream” of playing in the NFL? Yeah…..tough shit, Cameron.

    For some time now, the USNA has been so wrapped up in recruiting football players for use as recruiting tools that they’ve almost certainly bypassed the nominations of many FAR more deserving candidates.

  16. Slow Joe says:

    Fuk dat guy.
    He kan eet chit.

  17. Curly_Bill says:

    Anyone know the failure rate for walk-on’s in the NFL.

  18. Skyjumper says:

    And then there is guy named Rocky Bleier. Seems Ensign Kinley could take a lesson from him.

  19. Green Thumb says:

    I say let him play.

    Good PR and give the kid a shot. He earned a tryout.

    If not, remove football from the Academies.

  20. ChipNASA says:

    OK I’m going to be “that Guy” since I didn’t think I saw this and I did think you said something about a “bill” and not Buffalo so….
    I’m going to go against the grain and say let him leave and go play in the NFL.
    BUT with only one string.
    You be the judge….OK, I so totally stole that from ninja LOL….Sorry, I couldn’t help it…
    So, for your consideration, (From a discussion on

    Apr 10, 2018
    “Does anyone have an official dollar value of an appointment, for school reporting purposes?

    “…when I was on an official visit, the coach said the “full ride” is equivalent to $600,000-$650,000…”

    ” As of 2016, it was $250,000 and I have not seen any changes to that figure. ”

    ” It’s not the Naval Academy but Air Force posts a dollar value here:
    Their answer is $416,000″

    SO the comment ended up being..”OK well then somewhere between $ 250,000 and $650,000. ”

    OK then… well disregarding his obligation and all the moral equivalency and all that and blah blah, he should not have taken the sloe and he’s supposed to serve the country and there’s the risk of death etc etc.

    Send the fucker a bill for $650,000 and if he can come up with the scratch, he can bail an dgo to the NFL. Simple as that. I’m sure the Clintons or BLM, Greenpeace or PETA or someone can come up with that.
    Get your ass off Shitter and quit bitching on social media and start rattling the tin cup BRO and get the USNA their bones, Shekels (since you want to be all Christ-like), Dead presidents, Loot, Lettuce, Clams (since you’re near the Bay), Moola MoFo, Wampum (yeah fuck it, I went there, so fucking what, don’t expect to pay that this off in some shiny beads bitch) and I’ll finish off with “Spondulix: money (either from spondylus, a Greek word for a shell once used as currency, or from the prefix spondylo-, which means “spine” or “vertebra”; ) of shich it appears you have none, SO there you go.
    Bend over and cough up (like we all have at MEPS) and toss the USNA a cool $650,000 and THERE’S THE FUCKING DOOR, oh and IF you get that far, an apology for taking someone else’s slot would be nice and a THANNK YOU for the opportunity.
    But nah, NONE of this is happening. I must have his the snooze alarm once too many times this morning and had a mini dream. And I’m feeling a bit like a cunt this morning so there you area.

    • ChipNASA says:

      Fuck typos and fuck the extra italics. I was sure I closed the aayeech tee emmm hell (html).
      So, well just fuck it.
      YAY Happy Hump Day.

  21. Mustang Major says:

    The Navy is a better career choice than the NFL, assuming Kinley can make his way through until retirement. He doesn’t understand his error in his judgement now, but he will in later years.

    Serving in a “woke” Navy isn’t what he expected when he chose the USNA, and solving the problems of sailors suffering sexual identity dystopia doesn’t appeal to any leader. However, welcome aboard sir.

  22. E4 Mafia '83-'87 says:

    The policy when he entered the USNA was serve 5-years minimum. Trump changed that policy while in Office only to have Biden reverse it…because its a Trump policy, but I digress.
    He had no expectation of being able to go directly to NFL upon his commitment to the USNA, so he should be expected to serve his obligation first. No harm in requesting a different, but he shouldn’t count on getting said different.
    Alejandro Villanueva did his 5 years in the Army as Ranger, then made the move to the NFL and starts for Steelers at LT. If this truly his dream, he should use his time wisely, and be ready when his obligation ends.

  23. OWB says:

    Never been a fan of allowing folks to shirk their obligation following academy graduation for any reason, so of course never understood allowing it to play professional games of any variety.

    Not knowing all the facts in this situation, of course there could well be extenuating circumstances. However, the door was opened years ago and should either be applied to everyone or no one. Is there some sort of standard policy in play here? The seemingly arbitrary decision that some can and some cannot defer their service obligation just doesn’t cut it.

  24. MCPO USN says:

    He will make a great pick for flag football during group PT sessions….suck it up, Ensign, and carry on smartly.