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Antonio Cromartie's wife says team released him because of national anthem protest

Posted at 2:57 PM, Oct 20, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- The wife of recently released Colts cornerback Antonio Cromartie says the team let her husband go because he took a knee during the national anthem.

Terricka Cromartie made the accusations on Instagram in response to Colts owner Jim Irsay's comments that stadiums are the "wrong venue" for the protest against police brutality and racial oppression, according to ESPN.

Terricka Cromartie's post was made private shortly after it was posted. 

The post read:

"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"

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

"It hasn't been a positive thing," Irsay said. "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 was released on Oct. 4.

ESPN reached out to the Colts asking about the allegations and the team referred to Coach Pagano's statement on Oct. 5, referring to it as a "football decision."

Antonio Cromartie was the only Colts player to kneel in protest during the national anthem this year, beginning on Sept. 25 before the Colts beat the San Diego Chargers. He did it again in London before being released the following week. 

RELATED | Cromartie explains decision to kneel: "I'm a black man first"

Cromartie signed with the Colts as a free agent in August, a move by the team to patch their ailing defense with veteran talent, but as the season went on, the Colts were in a position to release him in favor of their younger talent as they became healthy.

Through his four games, he notched 14 tackles and two passes defensed. Cromartie had a tough time staying on the field, with multiple injuries through the first four weeks of the season that sidelined him for different periods of time during games. He was benched in the second half of his final game with the team in London.

Confusion surrounded Colts tight end Dwayne Allen's actions prior to the team's Sunday Night Football loss to the Houston Texans when he took a knee at the end of the national anthem, which he does every game, but play-by-play announcers of the game noted it as possibly part of the league-wide protest. 

People reacted negatively to the gesture before understanding it was a routine thing for Allen, who clarified later in the week, saying he says "a prayer for every man that steps on the field" prior to each game.