(above : probably not Telia Tequilia, with Shawne Merriman on the right. But Tim Sullivan could say for certain)

“Domestic abuse is despicable, intolerable, indefensible,” insists the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Tim Sullivan in considering the charges against Bolts OLB Shawne Merriman, proceeding to make the clumsy argument that (allegedly) drunk reality TV stars might not be less deserving of protection under the law, but they’re less worthy of sympathy.

Maybe Shawne Merriman and Tila Tequila were destined for difficulty, constitutionally incapable of reconciling their attraction for each other with their abiding love of themselves.

When two narcissists get involved, friction generally follows. When Tequila (not her real name) signed a citizen’s arrest warrant early yesterday, alleging that Merriman had choked, battered and restrained her at the linebacker’s place in Poway, well, isn’t that about what you expect when the irresistible diva meets the immovable peacock?

Experience says some reality TV bottom-feeder (another redundancy?) is already evaluating the potential of exploring the quasi-private lives of two celebrities jointly committed to prolonging their allotted 15 minutes of fame. Cynicism says Merriman and Tila Tequila are at least as likely to be reunited on camera as in a courtroom; that their mutual need for attention will ultimately overcome their individual issues; that they are, for television purposes, the perfect couple.

What Shawne Merriman does on his own time is, for the most part, his own business. If he chooses to associate with professional bimbos whose primary talent is the removal of clothing, that’s between him and his libido. Yet if he wants to be seen as a committed athlete rather than a œpersonality, the pass-rushing whirlwind might want to more carefully consider the hours and the company he keeps.

About the nicest thing I can say about Sullivan’s column is that at least unlike some of his peers, he’s not pretending to be unfamiliar with Ms. Tequila’s body of work. Beyond that, however, there’s something genuinely creepy about the sportswriter denouncing Merriman’s accuser as a “professional bimbo”. Exploring the possibility Merriman’s telling the truth when he protests he was merely trying to prevent Tequila from driving while impaired is one thing ; calling the latter “a reality TV attention floozy” in this context, however, suggests she is a less than credible accuser. Female celebrities can’t be physically assaulted? Women who provide Sullivan and his colleagues with internet/cable eye candy are, y’know, asking for it?

Not that Sullivan is alone in his membership in the New Puritan Brigade.