INDIANAPOLIS – The wife of former Colts cornerback Antonio Cromartie alleges that his release earlier this month was related to his decision to kneel in protest during the pre-game playing of the national anthem.
Terricka Cason’s comments on the social media platform Instagram came in response to Colts owner Jim Irsay’s comment this week that NFL games aren't the proper venue for such protests.
In her statement, Cason said, in part, “You are nothing more than an entertainer. Just shut up and do what we say… 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 Paid to put on a show.”
Cromartie has not publicly expressed similar sentiments.
The Colts declined comment Thursday.
There’s evidence to suggest Cromartie was released purely for football reasons.
He was released after the Colts’ fourth game of the season. His protests started two weeks earlier. Cromartie was also benched halfway through his final game, after a dreadful first half of play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 2.
The Colts were welcoming back two veteran cornerbacks to the roster about that time, with Patrick Robinson and Darius Butler returning from injuries. That could have left Cromartie on the bench or, possibly, as a gameday inactive. Cromartie was not a member of any of the kicking teams, meaning he had less value if not a regular on defense.
Finally, there’s the fact that Cromartie was signed to be a stopgap after Pro Bowl cornerback Vontae Davis suffered an ankle injury in the preseason. It was never assumed he’d remain on the roster throughout the season, even though he did perform well in his first couple of games in the lineup.
Irsay, speaking with USA Today this week, linked the anthem protests to falling NFL ratings: “I think it’s the wrong venue. 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.”
Cason did not name the person she said had told her husband not to kneel. Efforts to reach Cason and Cromartie have been unsuccessful.