HOUSTON – US Navy reservist Joe Cardona has decided that his civic duty would need to take a back seat, at least for this weekend.
The 24-year-old long snapper has been with the New England Patriots since 2015. He has so far been a vital cog for the team’s recent playoff run which helped them secure the Super Bowl 2017 spot and play against the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday, February 5.
As a reservist in the Navy, Cardona is required to complete two weeks of active training per year and a weekend per month on top of it, for a total of eight years. He was supposed to be assigned for duty in Newport, Rhode Island, but had to reschedule it due to his commitments with the Patriots.
To his credit, Cardona has been able to efficiently juggle his duties, both for the Navy and the Patriots. During his rookie year, he was required to drive back and forth from New England for practice sessions and Rhode Island for his duties, which was a two-hour trip in total. Cardona says he was never late for either commitment while he was living this lifestyle. To be able to play at the Super Bowl 2017 weekend, he needed to seek approval from the Secretary of the Navy.
Most of his teammates and coaches have only lauded Cardona for being able to fulfill both of his commitments. He serves as an inspiration for the entire team, not only as an NFL player, but as a member of society as well. Head coach Bill Belichick particularly took notice of how his young player was able to handle the different responsibilities that come with playing both of his roles.
Abandoning a civic duty such as serving in the military is usually frowned upon, but should the same point of view be applied in the case of Joe Cardona?