Shawne Merriman denies harming ex-'Shot at Love' star Tila Tequila
By Christopher Rocchio, 09/07/2009
NFL star Shawne Merriman has denied Tila Tequila's accusations that he choked and threw her to the ground, instead claiming that the alleged altercation stemmed from his attempts to prevent her from driving under the influence of alcohol.
The former A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila star -- whose real name is Tila Nguyen -- signed a citizen's arrest warrant and accused Merriman of choking her and refusing to let her leave his house early Sunday morning.
Merriman was subsequently arrested and charged with battery and false imprisonment, both of which are felonies.
Sheriff's Department spokesman Jan Caldwell previously stated authorities had determined that Tequila had been drinking prior to the incident.
"At the time, I was concerned about her welfare given the intoxicated state she appeared to be in and I encouraged her to stay until safe transportation could be provided," Merriman said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press.
"We would all do our best to help a friend if we considered their actions to be detrimental to their personal safety. I in no way caused any harm to Ms. Nguyen, however, paramedics were called and she was examined but no injuries were reported."
Following a Monday practice with the San Diego Chargers, Merriman told reporters he's convinced he'll be cleared of the charges against him.
"I think when it all surfaces, it will be a different situation. Period," said Merriman, according to The AP.
"It's kind of a tough situation where you think you're doing the right thing. I'm glad that everyone was safe at the end of the day. I don't think I will regret that part."
In addition, the 6'4", 265 lb. Merriman declined comment when asked if he threw Tequila to the ground.
"No. I can't talk about any of that stuff," he told The AP.
The incident occurred around 3:45AM early Sunday morning when deputies responded to Merriman's Poway, CA house after a woman called to say she was choked by the San Diego Chargers linebacker and thrown to the ground by him when she tried to leave.
The altercation allegedly occurred after Merriman and Tequila attended a Saturday night party at San Diego nightclub Stingaree, according to The AP, which added club owner James Brennan has since been told by his staff that Tequila had been drinking alcohol while it appeared Merriman had ordered only bottled water.
Brennan's accusation contradicts a Sunday statement Tequila made on her Twitter page, claiming she can't drink alcohol.
"I am allergic to alcohol. It has been publicly known for years," she posted Sunday. "That is how I got the name Tila 'Tequila' cuz the irony. I cant drink."
However Brennan told The AP that Tequila had drank shots of tequila and from a bottle of vodka. He added that Tequila even requested his brother Shane -- a Stingaree manager -- have a shot of tequila with her.
"It sounds like she's allergic to the truth," Brennan told The AP. "She wasn't like falling down or anything of that nature, but she was visibly intoxicated."
Brennan said he wouldn't normally comment on a situation like this but felt bad for Merriman.
"I feel sorry for the guy and I think the truth needs to be told," he told The AP.
Merriman practiced with the Chargers on Monday after meeting with team president Dean Spanos and coach Norv Turner.
"They're just all supportive, hopefully that we can move on from the situation as soon as possible," Merriman told The AP.
San Diego Chargers star outside linebacker Shawne Merriman said he did not harm reality TV star Tila Tequila at his home early Sunday and added he was concerned for her safety because she appeared to be intoxicated.
Merriman was arrested and accused of choking and throwing Tequila to the ground as she tried to leave his home in suburban Poway. Tequila signed a citizen's arrest warrant charging Merriman with battery and false imprisonment. Both are felonies.
Tequila, whose real name is Tila Nguyen, is best known for "A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila," which ran for two seasons on MTV. The bisexual dating show featured men and women vying for Tequila's affections. She has also modeled for Playboy and other men's magazines.