In his first response to Saturday's arrest over an altercation with his racy reality girlfriend, Merriman says he "looks forward to clearing [his] name regarding these false allegations."
"On Sept. 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," he says in a statement to FoxSports.com.
"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."
Instead of anything criminal, Merriman insists he was merely being chivalrous...
"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."
As for whether Merriman will face charges, the footballer appears to be confident about the future.
"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," says Merriman, concluding his statement by looking forward to the right-around-the-corner NFL season. "I want to put this behind me so I can continue to focus on a successful season for the San Diego Chargers."
Merriman, 25, spent two and a half hours in police custody before being released on $58,000 bail.
The San Diego County district attorney is still reviewing the evidence to decide whether criminal charges will be pressed, while Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith released a statement, saying, "It's disappointing to hear about the issue involving Shawne Merriman. We'll continue to monitor the situation and let the legal process run its course.''
Neither Tequila nor her rep have declined to comment on the altercation thus far, but the 27-year-old former MTV star tweeted a response of sorts to Merriman's allegations, writing: "I am allergic to alcohol. It has been publicly known for years. That is how I got the name Tila 'Tequila' cuz the irony. I cant drink."
(Originally published Sept. 7, 2009, at 11:25 a.m. PT)
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