Antonio Cromartie was cut by the Indianapolis Colts earlier this month, but his wife is pointing to a reason beyond his lackluster play.
Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest has spread to other players around the NFL, with kneeling the most common method to make a comment on racial inequality and other issues. Cornerback Antonio Cromartie was the only Indianapolis Colts player to take up kneeling, first on Sept. 25 against the San Diego Chargers and then in London on Oct. 2 against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 2.
After being signed in late August as injuries depleted the team’s cornerback depth, Cromartie was cut by the Colts on Oct. 4. At the time, head coach Chuck Pagano pointed to Cromartie’s departure as being strictly a football decision.
Via ESPN’s Mike Wells:
"“I’ve said it before and I will say it again, every decision that we make as far as our roster goes and this team goes, is based on two things — what is best for this team and what gives us the best chance to win,” Pagano said."
Cromartie had not done much in four games for Indianapolis, with 14 tackles, two pass breakups and zero interceptions. The Colts were also getting cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Darius Butler back healthy around the time Cromartie was cut. But Cromartie’s wife, via a private Instagram post on Wednesday, pointed to another reason for his release.
The post has since been deleted, but Wells has quoted it.
"You are Nothing More than an Entertainer. Just Shut and do what we say. You have No rights as along as you are working for me.. there are other places for you to fight and stand for what you believe… Smh Maybe I read something different.. one things for sure I know my husband was told Not to take a Knee and he went with his heart and he took one. And that cost him his Job.. and Clearly this Statement backs that up… Just a Paid To put on a show.. SMH"
Here’s a picture of Cromartie kneeling in London. He was cut two days later, coincidentally or not.
Of note here is Colts’ owner Jim Irsay’s recent comments about national anthem protests. He essentially told Jarrett Bell of USA Today the football field is the “wrong venue” for such a thing, while there are “other places to express yourself” and the protests haven’t been a “positive thing.” Terrika Cromartie referred to some of Irsay’s words in her Instagram post.
As flimsy as it might be, Cromartie’s choice to kneel for the national anthem may have helped him get cut by the Colts. But if he had been playing better, he surely would have been kept around, and that’s what it comes down to in the end. Once he was no longer needed as a healthy cornerback in Indianapolis, Cromartie was made available to the other 31 NFL teams, and he remains unemployed.