The wife of former Indianapolis Colts cornerback Antonio Cromartie alleged in an online post that her husband lost his job over his participation in a protest during the national anthem prior to an NFL game.
Terricka Cason wrote on Instagram about the Colts’ decision to release Cromartie two weeks after he began kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner," IndyStar reported.
Cason did not mention who had told her this was the reason.
“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,” she wrote.
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The statement Cason referred to was made by Colts owner Jim Irsay, who said recently that the anthem protests initiated by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had not been good for the league.
“It’s the wrong venue. 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 entertainers. We are being paid to put on a show. There are other places to express yourself.”
Cromartie has not stated publicly that he believes he lost his job because of the protests. Cason subsequently deleted her Instagram post containing the allegation.
The Colts declined to comment.
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IndyStar indicated in its article that Cromartie being cut from the team could have been purely for football reasons, as two experienced cornerbacks returned to the roster after injury at the same time as Cromartie was let go.
The debate over the impact of the anthem protests has been fueled by statistics showing that NFL ratings fell 11 percent during the first month of the new season.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell refused to accept that the Kaepernick-inspired protests were the reason.
“We don’t think that’s the factor and our network partners don’t either,” Goodell said after a meeting of NFL owners in Houston, The Guardian reported.
Goodall suggested the ratings dip could have been because two games clashed with the first two presidential debates. Others have explained it by pointing to less appealing matchups.