In a statement given exclusively to FOXSports.com, the media outlet with which he had a business relationship in 2008 as co-host of FSN’s Pro Football Preview, Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman denies that he caused harm to Tila Tequila Nguyen on Sunday morning.
[UPDATE: Apparently, it wasn't an exclusive statement. And now we're confused as to why FOX would have tried to characterize it as such, especially since doing so merely provided fodder to critics who think that the network and its top NFL insider, Jay Glazer, are too cozy with Merriman.]
Nguyen filed a criminal complaint claiming that Merriman committed battery and false imprisonment by preventing her from leaving his residence. Merriman was arrested and later released from custody.
Here’s the full text of the statement:
“On September 6, 2009 the San Diego Sheriff’s Department responded to
a citizen’s complaint that was initiated by Tila Nguyen (aka Tila
Tequila). I was taken into custody based upon that complaint. 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.
“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. She was released and has since returned to Los Angeles,
“There have been no charges filed against me. I want
to thank the San Diego Sheriff’s Department for their professionalism. I will continue to cooperate fully with the Department, and I look
forward to clearing my name regarding these false allegations. I want
to put this behind me so I can continue to focus on a successful season
for the San Diego Chargers.”
The question, however, of whether Merriman caused harm to Nguyen is separate from the question of whether he falsely imprisoned her or battered her. Many jurisdictions define “battery” as merely an offensive touching, with no requirement of harm or injury.
Still, unless prosecutors choose to act on the complaint made by Nguyen, Merriman faces no legal exposure.
For Nguyen, however, the incident could result in increased public exposure for a D-list “talent” whose 15 minutes expired at some point in 2008.