Sen. Marco Rubio asks President Joe Biden to intervene so Cameron Kinley can play for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Former Navy cornerback denied request for deferment 'without reason,' Florida senator says
Cameron Kinley and Marco Rubio
Posted at 9:06 AM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-23 09:06:45-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Count Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., among those hoping former U.S. Naval Academy cornerback Cameron Kinley gets a shot at pursuing his dream of playing in the NFL.

Rubio recently wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, asking for his help in delaying Kinley's commission with the Navy so that he can attend training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"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. "Unfortunately, Mr. Kinley seems to be the exception, and without reason."

Rubio pointed out in his letter that previous administrations "have enacted policies that would allow athletes from the Navy, Air Force and Army academies to delay their commissions to live out their dreams of playing a professional sport."

Kinley posted on Twitter earlier this month that the secretary of the Navy denied his request to delay his service. The tweet has since been deleted.

Rubio said Kinley was allowed to participate in the Navy's pro day and attend a rookie minicamp with the Buccaneers, but Acting Navy Secretary Thomas W. Harker denied Kinley's "request for deferment without cause, and will not allow for an appeal."

"Mr. Kinley is not seeking to terminate his commitment to the Navy," Rubio wrote. "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. 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."

Kinley tweeted his thanks to Rubio.

"It means a lot to have others take up this issue, not just for me, but for others that will follow," Kinley wrote.

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said he would welcome Kinley if the situation changes.

"I know he wants to attempt to be a professional football player, but he obviously means a ton to the Navy," Arians said. "So I'll leave that up to them. I would love to have him."

The Biden administration has yet to act on the request.