Antonio Cromartie(notes) says it wasn't his fault he struggled to name his eight kids on this week's episode of "Hard Knocks." The blame instead lies with an unnamed HBO director, who made the New York Jets cornerback do two takes of the lengthy list, or so says Cromartie.
First, if you haven't watched the video of Cromartie laboring to remember the names of Alonzo, Keris, Myjunia, "my daughter who just turned 3 yesterday", Tyler, London, Lelani and Jersey, go ahead and watch it now. And if you already have seen it, I have no doubt you'll be watching it again because it's the greatest thing that's been on TV this year.
Anyway, Cromartie says the whole scene was staged. He told Bart Hubbach of the New York Post* that the director asked him to redo it because he wasn't pausing long enough between answers and that he had no trouble listing the names the first time.
"I had nailed it the one time before," he said, "but they had to redo it and they just told me to pause between each one of [the names]."
That quote sums up the beauty of this whole thing. Cromartie is proud of himself that he "nailed" the naming of his kids the first time. He's felt he achieved something, sort of like that one time I was able to name all the Supreme Court justices.
I'm not naive enough to believe that reality shows aren't scripted and staged (as I wrote in the recap of this week's episode, everything in "Hard Knocks" with Mike Tannenbaum feels contrived, as do a few scenes with Mark Sanchez(notes)), but I also don't believe Antonio Cromartie would willingly agree to look like an idiot on national television nor that he's a good enough actor to sell the fact that he was grasping for the names. I mean, look at his face in the picture above. That's the expression of a man feeling the sting of short-term memory loss. It's like how I feel when a woman in a bar asks me if I remember her name (a feeling I'm sure Antonio Cromartie knows all too well).
HBO denied the accusation and said in a statement that everyone involved in the scene confirmed it was done in one take.
* An earlier version of this post failed to attribute the quotes to the NY Post. Shutdown Corner apologizes for the oversight.