Friday, July 9, 2021

Touchdown--for the BCNR

It's not every day that the Board for Correction of Naval Records figures in The New York Times's SportsThursday subsection. But so it was on July 8, 2021, with this "Pro Football" story about U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2021 graduate Cameron Kinley. He was apparently commissioned and was to enter on his five-year active duty obligation, but the BCNR granted his petition to have his commission rescinded so that he can proceed with a career in the National Football League. The matter required the personal involvement of both acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker and Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III. Senator Marco Rubio helped get the case moving.

The Times's Emmanuel Morgan reports:

The official policy for graduates of service academies pursuing careers as professional athletes has changed repeatedly in the last few years, with athletes required to pay back the costs of attending their academy if they immediately play professionally without earning a waiver. During the Obama administration, graduates could continue their athletic career immediately if they were granted reserve status. But President Donald J. Trump in 2017 rescinded that policy, only to direct the Department of Defense to re-enact it again in 2019 after hosting the Army football team at the White House. [President Joseph R.] Biden, in a statement on Tuesday, said he supported the Pentagon’s decision.

“I am confident that Cameron will represent the Navy well in the N.F.L., just as he did as a standout athlete and class president at the Naval Academy. After his N.F.L. career is over, he will continue to make us proud as an officer in the United States Navy.”

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers player-to-be saw a larger lesson:

“The most valuable lesson I’ve learned throughout this whole process,” Kinley said, “is to trust his timing and remain confident in the fact that God will always prevail.”

Comments on this case, the policy it reflects, the priority it received, and the role of political influence and/or of the Almighty are welcome, particularly from readers who have represented less athletically-gifted clients before the correction boards.

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