Terricka Cromartie: Colts released husband over anthem protest

ByMike Wells ESPN logo
Thursday, October 20, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- The wife of former Colts cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who was released Oct. 4, is accusing the team of letting her husband go for taking a knee during the national anthem.

Terricka Cromartie wrote an Instagram post after seeing comments from Colts owner Jim Irsay saying football stadiums are the "wrong venue" for players to be kneeling during the national anthem to show their displeasure in police brutality and racial oppression. The post was later taken down, but it stated what she thinks the attitude of the team toward players:

"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," the post said.

The post added: "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."

Irsay was asked about players kneeling during the anthem while at the NFL owners meetings in Houston earlier this week.

"It hasn't been a positive thing," Irsay told reporters. "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."

Cromartie also posted to Instagram, and although he didn't mention his release, he appeared to take issue with Irsay's comments.

The Colts referred to coach Chuck Pagano's statement on Oct. 5 when asked about Cromartie's wife's comments. Pagano, addressing the cornerback's release a day earlier, referred to it as a football decision.

"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 became the only Colts player to take a knee when he did it during the anthem before the Sept. 25 game against the San Diego Chargers. He did it again the following week when the Colts played the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.

Cromartie, a four-time Pro Bowler, had played so poorly against the Jaguars in the first half that he was benched in the second half.

The Colts were in position to release Cromartie at the time because they were getting healthy in the secondary. Cornerback Darius Butler was returning from a hamstring injury, which meant the Colts would have their top three cornerbacks -- Vontae Davis, Butler and Patrick Robinson -- back in the lineup.

There's a chance Cromartie would have been inactive for some games because the team likes Rashaan Melvin as its fourth cornerback.

Colts tight end Dwayne Allen has consistently taken a knee toward the end of the national anthem throughout his career. Heexplained in a video released through the teamTuesday that he does so not as a protest, but "to say a prayer for every man that steps on the field." On Wednesday, he discussed the backlash he has receivedfrom some fans that have sent him hateful messages because they misinterpreted his actions.