Ex-NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie is making headlines on Wednesday after talking to Bleacher Report about the end of his time with the Indianapolis Colts.
Speaking with B/R's Master Tesfatsion for a segment titled 'B/R Untold Stories,' Cromartie said that he believes that Chuck Pagano – who was the Colts' head coach at the time – cut Cromartie for taking a knee during the National Anthem.
"We are in a team meeting, and Coach Pagano gets up and says, 'Look, guys. I know you all wanna do something. I don't want you guys taking a knee.
"He said when go out on the football field, it's about football."
Cromartie still took a knee, and was subsequently benched for the second half of that game. He also mentioned that in a game against the Chargers, team executives asked him to stand up. When he refused to do so, the team surrounded him, with one person holding a towel to obscure the view.
"Two or three days after I took a knee, I got three or four phone calls," he added. "... I didn't recognize the number, so I answered. They said, 'Hey, yo, you in the facility?' and I said, 'Yeah, why? What's up?' They told me that Chuck Pagano wanted to see you."
When he met with team officials, the Colts told him he'd be released and asked for him to turn in his playbook. Pagano and the Colts told him it was because the secondary was getting healthy, but Cromartie remains skeptical.
"It didn't have anything to do with my age, it didn't have anything to do with my style of play," he told Tesfatsion. "It was because I took a knee. October 2nd was my last game. I got one workout that whole entire time."