Terricka Cromartie: Colts released husband over anthem protest

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.

They say it's not the right place or venue to do what is right and stand for what is right. I guarantee that most the people that's sending me hate messages don't even know the top 2 members that are leading in this country in homelessness. Well let me educate you. #1 Veterans #2 Children. But you guys care so much about the people that fought for this country. It's crazy while I was Indiana I had a chance to talk to some veterans that didn't have a problem with me taking knee. Because the understood my reason behind it. I thank them my grandfather and my friends for their support who also served this country. Some of y'all I have to sit back and pray for, Because right now with everything that's going on in this country and with these two idiots making the presidential debate a reality show and joke it's sad. I pray that we make a change for the better. It starts by being honest with yourself ms not to blind by what's going on in our communities and our country. I've played this game for 11 years and I am grateful for the opportunity the lord and the @chargers gave me. #BeAboutChange #teamcromartie

A photo posted by Antonio Cromartie (@antoniocromartie31) on

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. He explained in a video released through the team Tuesday 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 received from some fans that have sent him hateful messages because they misinterpreted his actions.