Former All-Pro cornerback Antonio Cromartie doesn’t get mentioned as often as Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee in 2016, but Cromartie says he paid the same price.
The now 35-year-old Cromartie says the Indianapolis Colts cut him in 2016 because he took a knee during the national anthem.
Cromartie detailed his story to Master Tesfatsion of Bleacher Report. Cromartie says Colts head coach Chuck Pagano told players they couldn’t take a knee during the national anthem. Cromartie pushed back against that, and decided to take a knee before two games.
Cromartie — like Kaepernick — took a knee to call attention to racial injustice and police brutality in the United States. Cromartie says he spoke to members of his family who served in the military before making that decision. While some of his family members disagreed with the kneeling, they told Cromartie they fought for his right to kneel.
Following the Colts’ Week 4 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cromartie was called into the facility to meet with Pagano. Cromartie was informed he was being cut by the team. Pagano said the team was making the move because other Colts defenders were getting healthy and the team didn’t need Cromartie anymore. Cromartie attempted to get Pagano to say the Colts were making the move due to Cromartie taking a knee, but Pagano did not bite.
Cromartie — who was a four-time Pro Bowler and a one-time All-Pro — got one tryout after he was released. He has not played in the NFL since the Colts released him in 2016.
Though Cromartie believes taking a knee cost him his job, he says he would do it again.
“At the end of the day, the only thing we did was give people a voice that didn’t have a voice,” he says. “And it brought more attention to what really was going on.”
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