Trump Attends Army-Navy Game, Delivers Big News

The president will allow players to go pro and fulfill military service later
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2019 4:30 PM CST
Trump Attends Army-Navy Game, Delivers Big News
President Donald Trump stands with the Navy midshipmen before the start of an NCAA college football game between the Army and the Navy, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Trump showed up at the Army-Navy football game Saturday and gave players a bit of news: They can defer their military service to play pro ball, Fox News reports. "So what we're doing now is you’ll go out and you'll make a fortune," Trump said in the Army locker room. "And after you are all finished with your professional career, you'll go and you'll serve. And everybody's thrilled." Players cheered him in each locker room upon hearing the news, the AP reports. And Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who accompanied Trump, confirmed it: "We have changed that policy," he said. The Obama administration had approved a policy allowing some athletes to play professional while deferring service.

That opened the door for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds to be drafted in 2016 by the Baltimore Ravens, but the Defense Department nixed Obama's policy in 2017, per Sports Illustrated. Now players can delay service with approval from the defense secretary, the AP says, and either fulfill their military service or pay the cost of their education later on. Trump himself received five deferments during the Vietnam War—four for education, and one for bone spurs in his feet—and said earlier this year that he would have gladly served in another era: "I was never a fan of that war," he said, per the Military Times. At the Army-Navy rivalry in Philadelphia, Trump walked on the field to flip the who-receives-first coin and was cheered by the crowd. (More US military stories.)

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