Shawne Merriman Denies Assaulting Tila Tequila

Football player arrested for allegedly choking Tequila says he was helping his drunk friend.

A day after [artist id="2514710"]Tila Tequila[/artist] made a citizen's arrest on football player Shawne Merriman, claiming that he had choked and restrained her, the San Diego Chargers linebacker spoke to about the incident, denying the account given by Tequila (born Tila Nguyen).

Merriman, 25, was arrested on Sunday when Tequila, described in police reports as the player's girlfriend, allegedly called police and said Merriman tried to forcibly restrain her when she attempted to leave his home early that morning.

Reality star Tequila signed a citizen's arrest form according to multiple reports, and the football player was taken into custody on suspicion of battery and false imprisonment, both felonies, and then released on bail, while Tequila was taken to a local hospital with no visible injuries.

On Monday, Merriman strenuously denied the charges, telling that he was actually trying to help a drunk Tequila and make sure she didn't hurt herself.

"On September 6, 2009, the San Diego Sheriff's Department responded to a citizen's complaint that was initiated by Tila Nguyen (a.k.a. Tila Tequila)," Merriman's statement read. "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, California."

Merriman stated that no charges had been filed against him, and he thanked the San Diego Sheriff's Department for their professionalism, pledging to continue fully cooperating with their investigation. "I look forward to clearing my name regarding these false allegations," Merriman said.

Though Tequila's lawyer, New York-based Scott Leemon, said the "Shot at Love" star would not be commenting on the incident, Tequila, 27, reportedly did tweet about what happened (her Twitter feed was listed as "protected" at press time and not available for viewing), according to a number of reports. In one post, she denied Merriman's claims about her alleged inebriated state, explaining, "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 can't drink."

Contrary to Tequila's tweet, The Associated Press reported that the owner of the club in which Merriman and Tequila partied before the incident said several of his employees told him she drank several shots of tequila and sipped from a vodka bottle the night before, and while she wasn't falling down, she was "visibly intoxicated."

Tequila also apparently upped the ante by posting a message (which has since apparently been removed) alluding to steroid use and linking to an article on the subject of the effect of steroids on aggressive behavior. CNN reported that Merriman's lawyer said more than a dozen other people were at Merriman's home at the time of the incident and "witness after witness after witness will back up his story 100 percent."