Antonio Cromartie Says Kneeling During National Anthem Ended NFL Career

Antonio Cromartie said the Colts released him after he ignored instructions not to kneel for the National Anthem.

Indianapolis, IN – Former National Football League (NFL) cornerback Antonio Cromartie said he believes his successful 10-year career in professional football ended after he refused to stand for the National Anthem in 2016.

Cromartie joined the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 22, 2016, according to Rotoworld.

Ten days later, San Francisco 49ers quarter Colin Kaepernick took a knee for the first time during the Star Spangled Banner at the start of a pre-season game in what he called a protest of police brutality.

Cromartie, who holds the record for the longest play in NFL history with a 109-yard return on a missed field goal for the San Diego Chargers against the Minnesota Vikings in 2007, supported Kaepernick’s statement.

But the former cornerback said that the management of the Indianapolis Colts was not of the same mind, USA Today reported.

Cromartie said that then-Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano asked players not to kneel for the National Anthem during a locker room speech before the Week 3 game against the San Diego Chargers, USA Today reported.

“I turned around to some of the guys and I spoke to them, and I’m like, ‘So when it’s about leukemia and your cancer, it’s cool. But when it’s about police brutality and social injustice, it’s not cool,’” he said. “I told Chuck Pagano that. I told him straight up, ‘Man, that’s [expletive].’"

Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia in 2012 and was the recipient of visible demonstrations of support from both the team and fans while he underwent treatment, USA Today reported.

“It’s all ‘football is bigger than what is going on the outside,’” Cromartie complained. “No it ain’t. How about respecting the guys that’s getting murdered and killed by police officers? And I’m not saying all police officers is bad. But you get some, they get that little power in they [sic] hand and they abuse that power.”

The four-time Pro Bowl player, who was 32 years old at the time, was cut by the Colts after only four games, Rotoworld reported.

“I can remember me, right before the National Anthem, first time I took a knee,” Cromartie told USA Today. “What’s funny is, two or three of the executive guys were standing behind me and was like, ‘Cro, get up.’ I was like ‘Man, [expletive] y’all, I’m not getting up.’ One person even had a towel to try to block it, you know for nobody wanting to take a picture, but they already had took a picture."

“And then Week 4, we are in London and they came up to me before the game and was like, ‘Hey, Cro, please don’t take a knee,’” he continued. “So it was like, ‘Man, y’all better get out my face. Y’all not fitting to sit here and tell me what I can and cannot do.' I actually got benched that game. I got pulled out at halftime, and didn’t play the second half at all.”

But despite his assertions that he was benched for kneeling, USA Today reported that Cromartie was struggling in London before he was pulled from the game and allowed several big receptions to Jackson Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson.

He said the Colts released him two days later and told him it was because other defensive backs who had previously been sidelined by injuries had gotten healthy.

Cromartie told USA Today that he asked Pagano directly if he had been fired for kneeling but the head coach told him he had been released because the other players were back from injuries and ready to play.

“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 at the time.

Cromartie firmly believes that it was taking a knee during the Star Spangled Banner that ended his career, USA Today reported.

“One hundred percent,” he said. “One hundred percent. It ain’t have nothing to do with my age. It ain’t have nothing to do with my style of play. It was because I took a knee. October 2nd was my last game. I got one workout that whole entire time, and that was by the Saints in 2017.”

The former NFL player also said he doesn’t regret kneeling during the National Anthem despite the fact he received death threats for having done so, according to USA Today.

“Why should I?” Cromartie asked. “'Cause at the end of the day, all we did was give people a voice that didn’t have a voice. And it brought more attention to what really was going on and now everybody’s talking about it. But there’s still no solution because it’s still going on.”

The record-breaking cornerback announced his retirement on March 5, 2018, after no NFL team picked him up for the 2017 season.

Comments (117)
No. 1-50
flybynight
flybynight

Can't follow instructions or control emotions. YOU'RE FIRED!!!!!!

JBo
JBo

If I were a team owner paying a player millions of dollars...it will be my way or the highway. My money, my call.

shooter
shooter

Actions have consequences, Antonio...just ask Krapperdick.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Awww... Now he will have enough free time to learn the English Language. Win, win...

"I can remember me, right before the National Anthem, first time I took a knee,” Cromartie told USA Today. “What’s funny is, two or three of the executive guys were standing behind me and was like, ‘Cro, get up.’ I was like ‘Man, [expletive] y’all, I’m not getting up.’ One person even had a towel to try to block it, you know for nobody wanting to take a picture, but they already had took a picture."

“And then Week 4, we are in London and they came up to me before the game and was like, ‘Hey, Cro, please don’t take a knee,’” he continued. “So it was like, ‘Man, y’all better get out my face. Y’all not fitting to sit here and tell me what I can and cannot do.' I actually got benched that game. I got pulled out at halftime, and didn’t play the second half at all.”

He's going to be a genius who can rightfully educate others in no time.

TBL133
TBL133

“'Cause at the end of the day, all we did was give people a voice that didn’t have a voice. And it brought more attention to what really was going on and now everybody’s talking about it...”

So he thinks he gave some people a voice?!?! I didn’t know he took a knee and I didn’t know he wasn’t playing anymore. He is not important enough to waste my time remembering that meaningless fact. If this article hadn’t been written, I still wouldn’t know, and I certainly don’t care either. Now go take an English class you illiterate anti-cop, anti-American POS!

Vodkabreakfast
Vodkabreakfast

That’s not giving a voice. It’s abusing a platform that you are employed by - quite handsomely I might add. If you insist on identifying by the colour of your skin, then represent it in your success - whilst wearing the colour of the team that represents the opportunity you’ve been given to display your talent.

reverett456117502
reverett456117502

GOOD!!!!!! Enough said by me!

Wish505
Wish505

Can't abide by the boss orders, YOUR FIRED. This not only applies to you glory boy but anyone who is employed by and company. What you do on you own time is fine but what you do on there dime is there time.

Jones24
Jones24

I ain’t bent out of shape this jerk was fired.

Cduncanf
Cduncanf

Maybe you just suck as a player

Number1shaul
Number1shaul

Note to self: Don't take a knee during the National Anthem! Pretty simple 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️👮‍♂️👮‍♀️👮‍♂️👮‍♀️

marieinsc63
marieinsc63

Is the reporter who wrote this article trying to send a message by writing it exactly the way Cromartie was speaking?

LEO0301
LEO0301

It seems his mama never told him that actions have consequences. It applies to everyone, white or black. As a side note, it's hard to believe this guy actually spent four years in college. I know first grade children who have a better grasp of the English language.

DarrellWhitledge
DarrellWhitledge

As it should have and should for anyone else that does it.

hatman7663
hatman7663

32, and can longer perform at the level required to be an NFL DB. Yet his maturity level has him blaming outside influences instead of realizing and owning up to the fact that he just can't cut it anymore.

TrueAmerican
TrueAmerican

Boo hoo hoo -BYE BYE

hoss377
hoss377

No,I'd say you were at the end of your career,you're just using your stupidity as an excuse.As i've said before, when you're paid millions to entertain,then entertain.We don't want to know your politics,or your biased feelings on injustice.

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

Maybe he should think of these things since he has like 42 kids to support.

DixieBlue
DixieBlue

Anyone that talked to their boss (executives mentioned in the article) like this----"I was like ‘Man, [expletive] y’all, I’m not getting up.", and then telling them later to get out of his face should expect to be fired.

badge1025
badge1025

"They get a little power and they abuse that power" totally agree that athletes do this ;)

Bazzman
Bazzman

Hey maybe Nike will hire you to be there next clown...😂😂😂

Dra71
Dra71

He must have used the same tutor as Odell Beckham. How did he ever get passed 4th grade?

RPG156
RPG156

Sounds like it wasn't the knee-taking on the field... it was the shit-talking in the locker room...

Fire0462
Fire0462

Can anyone tell me what good kneeling had done for the black community ? Seems to me it just causes guys to lose jobs.

Clay W
Clay W

At the end of the day, and in reality "what was really going on" isn't that police officers are killing INNOCENT black people....in reality, when washed-up has-been football players start to realize their days are numbered, they take a knee to try to stay relevant. They play the last card they got to stay in football....the race card. Nice try Antonio!

Bluemoon135
Bluemoon135

Great! Now he and Colin can devote all that free time to BLM and other "Snowflake" causes. Hey he can go on tour with Rev. Al Sharpton and Jessie!!

ThePastaSauce
ThePastaSauce

On your time you're free to do or say anything you like - but when you're on my dime and wearing my team's uniform on stage in front of millions of viewers - show respect or be shown the door. Bye...

Vrodgirl
Vrodgirl

Boo hoo hoo and waa waa, waa! I think your mental capacity is as small as your grasp of the English language. You are w-a-s-h-e-d u-p! There, I spelled it out, get it???

jimmer1
jimmer1

Lesson: Dont be a follower!! (See where that got you?)

Pack
Pack

Bye Felicia!

lorelie63
lorelie63

except it ISN'T about Police brutality, it's about disrespect. You want to protest your supposed outrage do it after the anthem, do something outside of the NFL to show your outrage, volunteer in the inner city, work with the Police force to make it better. Kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful to the people who died to allow you to even be able to be disrespectful. #itsshameful

Stanracer
Stanracer

Another entitled, police hating, racist, overpaid, underworked, member (ex-member) of the National Felon League being an asshole. He clearly drank the koolaid and should be fired. Every so-called professional athlete who disrespects the flag and anthem should be fired.

Mudjunkie1
Mudjunkie1

Baahaaaahaaaa! Who the hell is he?

mike wauters
mike wauters

The Star Spangled Banner has nothing to do with the police. 2nd. He was at the end of his career and I'm sure he was a dick, as he explained what he said to his bosses. 3rd. You're dead wrong on the statistics. And those that get killed are usually not complying and fighting the police. And, like Freddie Gray, they arent a loss. In stead, society is better off without them.

AnnykaV
AnnykaV

Actions met consequences. Dumbass.

DeplorableDave
DeplorableDave

Dumbass. Nobody knelt during the national anthem for cancer. Maybe before or after in prayer for a cure. But not during the anthem.

“I turned around to some of the guys and I spoke to them, and I’m like, ‘So when it’s about leukemia and your cancer, it’s cool. But when it’s about police brutality and social injustice, it’s not cool,’” he said. “I told Chuck Pagano that. I told him straight up, ‘Man, that’s [expletive].’"

antilib
antilib

Can't understand why saying "**** yall" when TOLD to get up by franchise executives costs him his job takes professional level stupidity. But seeing his proficiency with the English language says it all.

Pirate1001
Pirate1001

Hey "Cro" did you know LE is probably openly scrutinized more than any other profession?

Did you know we can get disciplined for conduct unbecoming, on or off duty?

So cry me a river with your millions of dollars you made with a God given talent that rarely, if ever, put you in a situation where you didn't know if you were going to go home that day!

They're your employer and they showed you who calls the shots.

You made a decision. Deal with it!

VicG
VicG

Tough shit, punk...

TarnishedCopper
TarnishedCopper

Stupid games win stupid prizes.

alicefae
alicefae

🤔 image that? Hahahaha

Caroparks53
Caroparks53

Guess he can beg TLC to give him back his reality show..his kids are entitled brats but hey..the fans loved em.😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

FSchloss
FSchloss

Cromartie isn't too smart. Where else could a barely literate jock get paid as much as he did to play a child's game? It's his own stupidity that got him shit-canned. And the same stupidity that kept any other team from wanting to pick him up. To me, he's just another ungrateful spoiled POS, much like Kaepernick. Notice that he's not missed at all.

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

wait, he was fired for not following the rules of his boss? the audacity of his employer for expecting their employees to do what they say!!!

Next thing he will be filing a grievance against his team for wrongful termination, and sue them for millions....

BatCrapCrazy
BatCrapCrazy

He should use his extra time and any money he saved to go back to school and learn English.

unclebubby
unclebubby

Another person blaming other things and people for their shortcomings..woe is me!

61mouse
61mouse

Foot players are the same as police according to him . He says NOT ALL cops are bad but some when they get power they MISS USE it . And when football players get money some of them too they too think THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW because they have money . And to me if you have money you have power

45Kimberpro
45Kimberpro

Hey Cro, just a thought...Maybe it was when you told the exec's to go Fuc* themselves...Just sayin'...

Onafly
Onafly

Now that he’s retired how about going back to school for some courses in basic grammar. How did this jerk graduate from college. What ever school he went to must be so proud!

tuggingalong
tuggingalong

Typical outcome from those with entitlement mentality. “Ain’t my fault I was released.”

Yes, if you were released for poor play or not following directions, it’s you’re fault.

Police kill roughly a dozen unarmed black men a year and 2 to 4 times as many unarmed white men each year. Unarmed doesn’t mean they were not a threat to society and should not have been shot. A man repeatedly stabbing his wife and shot is considered unarmed. Most of these situations are “suicide by cop”.

Until the black on black violence is recognized for what it is (thousands murdered annually) and until the African American community takes ownership and responsibility for the breakdown of their community starting with fatherless homes, most of us aren’t listening or interested in the whining from pro athletes, celebrities, the media, politicians, and race hustlers.

Let’s get real or let’s not play.