President orders re-creation of policy to allow service academy players to play in NFL
After making his intentions known last month, President Donald Trump has signed a memorandum calling upon the Pentagon to create a policy that would allow athletes from service academies to play professional sports immediately upon graduation.
According to the Associated Press, the memo gives the defense secretary 120 days to craft the policy with the intention of allowing athletes the chance to “take advantage of their athletic talents during which playing professional sports is realistically possible.” It would defer their mandatory military service until after their athletic pursuits have come to an end.
A policy allowing athletes to do just that had already existed until it was ended by the Department of Defense in May 2017. Then Secretary of Defense James Mattis signed an order to end the program which allowed players to seek status in the reserves so they could play professionally.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Keenan Reynolds took advantage of that allowance when he entered the NFL Draft in 2016. Former Air Force wide receiver Jalen Robinette is trying to restart his football career after serving two years of active duty service. The Minnesota Vikings drafted Air Force long snapper Austin Cutting in the seventh round of this year’s draft in the hopes he would eventually be able to play for them as well.