Here’s a story that’s as American as apple pie, baseball and the suppression of voters. It involves ingenuity, racism, politics, football, the military, and false patriotism. Check all boxes.
You’ve probably never heard of Cameron Kinley – in full transparency, I hadn’t even heard of him until a few days ago. Navy veterans are just graduated, and play in cornerback for the Navy. His footballing dreams came true when he signed a free agent contract with defending champion Tampa Bay Bucs and played during the rookie minicamp. Then Kinley’s story became an American nightmare, that he won’t spend the summer and fall trying to make the final list of Buccaneers because the army won’t let him.
This is where racism and politics come into play.
Remember when Trump was in office and showing up to Army / Navy games doing everything he could to increase his popularity – even if he said the troops, veterans and missing service members were “dumb” and “losers?”
Well, in 2019, Trump tried to gain even more popularity by telling the Pentagon to allow service academy graduates to delay their service needs in order to practice pro sports. But, here’s the turn. Trump was trying to take credit for something the Obama administration had done, but the Trump administration shut him down once in office. The Obama team granted military academy athletes reserve status in order to become pro. That’s until the Trump Department of Defense revoked this policy.
“Our military academies exist to develop future officers who increase the readiness and lethality of our military services,” he said. Pentagon officials wrote in May 2017. “Diplomats enjoy the extraordinary benefit of a military academy education at the expense of taxpayers.”
This is where ingenuity and football come into play.
As a Black – from Memphis – Kinley believed that things worked on merit and equality in this country. He has seen service members like Jon Rhattigan (Army), Nolan Laufenberg (Air Force), and George Silvanic (Air Force) all receive approval to delay their service to the NFL, according to Ryan Williams- Jenkins, co-founder of the Kinley agency, Divine Sports and Entertainment, for a report from the Washington Post.
However, these three men are white. Kinley is not.
“It was definitely a quick turn of events, given three days to graduation my entire life course has changed unexpectedly,” Kinley told the Washington Post, as he dreamed of one day becoming second president. of the country. “I almost didn’t have any explanation, no specific reasoning. [Commandant Thomas R. Buchanan] he denied it, and then informed me that there was no appeal process. So go ahead, that’s the part I think worries me the most. I don’t really care why I was rejected, other than the fact that he wants me to serve immediately, I think. ”
Kinley is the perfect example of why people of color get angry when certain whites say, “Why should everything be racialized?” Well, given the circumstances surrounding this story, everything about it is racial. And as usual, we’re not the ones who did it,
This is where we add military and false patriotism to the mix.
Kinley – a political science major at a service academy who was class president and dreamed of a future in politics – checked all the boxes of what the military allegedly says he wants to be these types of athletes, but the Navy has always said no. According to u Washington Post Report, The Associated Press reported that in 2019, then Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper wrote a note stating that military service secretaries may nominate a graduate for a waiver to play pro sports if “there is a strong expectation that a MilitFuture professional sports employment for cadets of the Service Academy or the military provides the [Department of Defense] with significant favorable exposure to the media that can improve recruitment at the national level or public affairs missions ”.
And boom, there it is.
As far as race is concerned, there are also military service academies that seek to pimp their graduates like billboards. If this false patriotism seems familiar, it must. In 2015, John McCain and Jeff Flake discovered that the The Department of Defense has spent $ 53 million on patriotic rallies at sporting events, which included more than $ 10 million paid to teams in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS.
The military does not believe that Kinley is the “right kind” of American for the job, which is in keeping with the history of this country. Part of me is disappointed in Kinley for not having a better understanding of how the game is rigged, since he is a member of the same system that denies him a potential future in the NFL. The other half of me is exhausted by the structures of a corrupt system that allow such things.
As this story has gained attention in recent days, the Navy has issued a statement to the Washington Post about how they are rejecting all recent requests. As convenient. I didn’t buy it, and I shouldn’t either.
“It’s not because I wasn’t excited to graduate and command and serve the country, because it’s been one of my dreams and one of my goals,” Kinley told the Washington Post. “But I got the impression that someone had ripped a piece off me because I was just going back to all the hard work and all the adversity I had to overcome to get to this point. And for someone just to be able to. to take the opportunity out of me, it’s not just well-placed, especially without explanation. ”
These words can be assigned to almost any person of color who has always tried to achieve something in this country. And unfortunately, it’s best that he learns these life lessons sooner rather than later, which will be vital to his survival and his future.
Like I said, this is an authentic American story.