Many NFL players have shown solidarity with Colin Kaepernick this season through various forms of protests during national anthems. But did that solidarity cost Antonio Cromartie his job?
The Indianapolis Colts released Cromartie on Oct. 4 after the cornerback had played just four games with the team. It wasn’t the most surprising move, as the team had just gotten fellow cornerback Darius Butler back from injury and also had a healthy Vontae Davis and Patrick Robinson on the roster.
But Cromartie’s wife, Terricka, had a different theory: that Cromartie was released for taking part in the protests started by Kaepernick.
Here’s what Terricka wrote in a since-deleted Instagram post, via ESPN.com:
“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.”
Cromartie was the only Colts player to kneel during the national anthem before a Sept. 25 game against the San Diego Chargers, and he did it again the following week. Team owner Jim Irsay also has been outspoken about his stance on the protests.
?I think it?s the wrong venue,” Irsay recently told USA TODAY Sports. “It hasn?t been a positive thing. What we all have to be aware of as players, owners, PR people, equipment managers, is when the lights go on we are entertainment. We are being paid to put on a show. There are other places to express yourself.”
The timing of Irsay’s comments and Cromartie’s release is a pretty bad look for the Colts owner. But head coach Chuck Pagano insisted that cutting Cromartie was a football decision, and given the way the 32-year-old had been playing, there’s probably some truth to that.
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images