Indianapolis Colts cornerback Antonio Cromartie took a knee for the national anthem on Sunday. On Tuesday, the Colts released the veteran pass defender.
Cromartie crouched down on a knee and raised a black-power fist for the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” in London. Then he rose to his feet for “God Save the Queen.”
But his play during the game, rather than his antics before it, likely led to his release.
The Colts lost the game to the longtime divisional doormat Jacksonville Jaguars 30-27. Jaguars QB Blake Bortles threw for 207 yards and two touchdowns. He ran for another score. Cromartie made four tackles at the Wembley Stadium matchup.
“The four-time Pro Bowler struggled throughout and his play with the Colts was summed up by one series during their Week 4 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London,” ESPN’s Mike Wells writes. “Cromartie was beaten twice and called for two penalties on a drive where the Jaguars managed to get a field goal as the first half came to an end. Cromartie was benched in favor of Rashaan Melvin in the second half.”
The Colts rank 30th in points allowed, 24th in passing yards allowed, and 24th in team defense this young season. At 1-3, the team’s generous defense accounts for their last-place standing in a weak division.
Cromartie also took a knee for the anthem and raised his clenched fist (pictured above) before a win against the San Diego Chargers at Lucas Oil Stadium a week ago Sunday. That resulted in no repercussions, suggesting the aging corner’s play rather than his political stance catalyzed his release.
Cromartie signed a $3 million deal with the Colts prior to the season. He needed the money. Fathering a dozen children by eight different women, with twins arriving last year after a vasectomy, the prolific 32-year-old reportedly owes $336,000 annually in child support. He reportedly averted baby-mama drama, and the consequences of a Florida non-support warrant in the offseason, by signing with the Colts.
Cromartie boasts 31 interceptions in eleven seasons with the Chargers, Jets, Cardinals, and Colts. The four-time Pro Bowler came up with a goose egg in the category this season before his release.