(AP) — Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin
said Tuesday that the United States military
will allow Naval Academy
graduate Cameron Kinley
to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
in the NFL
Acting Navy Secretary Tom Harker had denied Kinley's request to postpone his commissioning, but Austin reversed his decision, saying that "we know Cameron will take every opportunity on and off the field to ably represent the Navy and the military to the American people
and to assist us in our recruiting
President Joe Biden
expressed his “satisfaction” with 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.”
Kinley wrote on Twitter
on Tuesday, "I am extremely grateful for Secretary Austin's decision and I am excited to represent our fine
military in the National Football
League. This past month has been extremely challenging, and I am grateful to everyone who has supported me in any way."
Kinley, a cornerback, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Buccaneers and will now be able to participate in training camp later this month.
Cameron will be enlisted in the Inactive Ready Reserve during his NFL career, and then “we look forward to welcoming him back inside the ranks as a naval officer,” according to Austin.