SAN DIEGO -- Hey Antonio Cromartie, tweet this -- you're busted!
The San Diego Chargers have fined their star cornerback $2,500 for using Twitter to wonder whether the "nasty food" has contributed to the Bolts failing to make it to the Super Bowl in recent years.
Cromartie said he was pulled out of a meeting by Twitter cop/head coach Norv Turner and notified that he was being fined. Cromartie also was a given a letter that spelled out the fine.
The fourth-year pro had a good laugh over the matter, but said he's going to be more careful. Still, he's not going to stop tweeting.
He also thinks the fine is a bit excessive.
"But other than that, I mean, I ain't going to take back what I said," Cromartie said after practice Tuesday afternoon. "I said what I had to say. But at the end of the day, I mean, I got fined for talking about nutrition and that. I can't really say too much else.
"I just thought it was harmless. It was just me talking about the food and stuff. I took it as a joke. But other people took it as a different kind of way."
Cromartie thinks the mole occupies an office somewhere in the team's executive suite.
"I didn't think it would cause a stir like I did, but me being me, I think I'm going to keep my mouth shut from here on out," he said. "I ain't going to say nothing else. I want to make sure I keep everything positive. Obviously, I mean, I can't really say what I really want to say. My freedom of speech has actually been taken away."
Cromartie said Turner told the team not to tweet while in the building and not to make them critical of the organization.
The Chargers use Twitter as a promotional tool, but apparently are worried about the players being too honest. The team even scooped the NFL during the draft by announcing their first-round pick via both Twitter and on their Web site before commissioner Roger Goodell announced it in New York.
Asked if that was a double standard, Cromartie said: "I can't say what I really want to say."
Cromartie had his laptop in his locker. He tapped it out of standby mode and guess what? "It's on Twitter right now," he said with a laugh.
There are hard-core tweeters, including outside linebacker Shawne "Lights Out" Merriman.
Asked about Cromartie's fine, Merriman said: "That's steep man. That's half a new set of rims or something. Those had better be some powerful words and they better be reaching a lot more than the 40,000 people I have right now."
The fine set off some interesting tweets from Cromartie -- whose user name is crimetime31 -- and Merriman.
"lets make a deal if all yall pitch in a dollar ill tweet more they handing out fines like free turkeys on thanksgiving, ya dig?" Merriman tweeted.
A few minutes later he wrote: "you can be tough alllllll you want to but the first time you get hit for a $2500 fine my name goes from LightsOut to just switch lol."
Cromartie posted this: "I wld like to think [sic] all my new followers since I got fine I promise I wnt let u down ok look forward to sum grt stuff 2 come.."
And this: "man we had a grt practice 2day The defense flow aroun nd we made a lot of plays every1 knows I have 2 watch wht i say now cause i got fined."
Then this from Merriman: "And by the way i thought the food was AMAZING today haha yea im a suck up."
Turner apparently doesn't tweet.
"We're trying to be open and give the fans a look at what we're doing, but certainly we're not going to go out of our way to give our opponents a competitive advantage or give them something that we feel should stay in our building," Turner said "So that's been our approach with any forms of media that we're involved with."
Chargers general manager A.J. Smith didn't return a call seeking comment.