By now, we all know the story of Caleb Campbell, who after being drafted by the Detroit Lions this spring, was allowed to defer his Army service.
Now, just this week, Campbell was told by Army and department of defense officials he would not be allowed to continue his NFL dream and must report to "regular Active duty."
This is a mistake for the Department of Defense on so many levels. It is mind boggling.
First, there was all the attention his story generated for recruiting purposes. That attention swung both ways positive and negative. The Army capitalized on his story to attempt to generate as much positive media coverage as it could get.
Smart move. In a media dominated by anti Bush administration reporters who often only report negatively on the military, it was a smart move to take the initiative and try something new.
It is not such a smart move to then rip away that deal that you tried to use for positive press.
Second, it really makes the Army look bad to do this. Again, we are force fed negative images from the biased news media to the movies, which I won't name that flat out lie about the stories they tell about the military or paint the military in a very negative light.
Almost no true war movies are ever made. They are made to further the point of the director or studio. This move only reinforces the built in stereotypes that exist about the Army that they lie to people and screw you over endlessly.
Third, Why now? Why do this now? This makes no sense at all. I understand how situations change and that you just suck it up and drive on, which is what Mr. Campbell will do.
But why wait until after you spent months promoting this to shoot it down now?
If he made the team, this would have been perfect for recruiting heading into the school year when for obvious reasons recruiting numbers will drop when young candidates go back to school.
Even though recruiting and retention numbers are at record highs (which the biased media will never tell you), it is just bad publicity to publicly go back on your word like this.
Finally, this makes no sense in that all the free recruiting that this may have help the West Point Football team achieve is now lost. Most high school athletes probably do not want to play at a service academy in the first place.
Now they have even more reasons not to go. I have been in these shoes before I know things change with the Army as well as anyone, but in this case, I know they let a great chance slip away that they will never get back.
Not to mention, they probably made Caleb Campbell's decision on making a career of the Army an even more clear choice.
The Army and Department of Defense have made a huge fumble they won't be able to recover.