MEMPHIS — The plight of former Lausanne star and Navy graduate Cameron Kinley continues.
Kinley has been denied a chance of playing in the NFL by the Secretary of the Navy.
Tuesday, we spoke to Kinley, who has done everything the Navy has asked of him.
From captain of the football team to senior class president at Annapolis to giving the commencement speech and introducing Vice President Kamala Harris.
He was also working on representing the Naval Academy in the NFL, signing a free agent deal with the Super Bowl Champion Buccaneers and opening some eyes in Tampa Bay during a recent minicamp.
But that is when Kinley learned that his hopes of playing in the NFL were not to be.
Instead of being able to push back his commission and play pro football, Kinley must report back to the Navy at the end of the month.
Seems like a missed opportunity for the Naval Academy, costing Kinley both on and off the field.
“Honestly I think the military and football go hand in hand. For me, it’s always been about setting an example and being an inspiration, especially coming from a city like Memphis where there’s not a lot of hope,” Kinley said. “The fact that I had that platform and I was going to be able to play in the NFL, represent the Navy, being an ambassador for the military but also be a young, African-American man at that stage. Be an inspiration to so many, that’s what is hurting me. To not have that opportunity and that platform.”
There is a policy in place that would allow Kinley to delay his commission. The same policy that allowed Kinley’s Navy teammate Malcolm Perry to be drafted and play for the Miami Dolphins just a season ago.
“I don’t want anybody to deal with this heartbreak that I’m dealing with and have a dream taken away from you. If you want to pursue this opportunity, I don’t see an issue with you being able to pursue this as well as serve as an officer in the military,” Kinley said. “It’s never been about me trying to get out of my commitment, get out of my service. I came to the Naval Academy knowing that I was going to serve as an officer and I invested all my four years there in becoming the best leader that I can be, for when it comes time for me to serve. It was just the opportunity to fulfill two dreams of mine. The opportunity presented itself. Who wouldn’t want to go after that.”
Kinley does not expect the decision made by the Secretary of the Navy to change.
A baseball player with the Midshipmen was also denied his hopes of turning pro.
Kinley hopes his story will push the academies to agree on one consistent policy, seeing that four other servicemen are getting a chance to live out their NFL dreams.
Three from the Air Force. One from the Army.