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By SI Wire
November 16, 2014

The New York Times reported Sunday that former Miami Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling was given "special treatment" after he was arrested for domestic abuse in 2010.

Merling was arrested on charges of aggravated domestic battery on a pregnant woman after he had thrown his fiancé, Kristen Lennon, on the bed and "hit her in the face and head."

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The Times detailed what happened after Merling was arrested. 

Mr. Merling was booked on charges of aggravated domestic battery on a pregnant woman. Almost all inmates are required to leave the jail through the public front door and arrange their own transportation home, but Mr. Merling was granted an unusual privilege: He was escorted out a rear exit by a deputy, evading reporters. The commander, who was off duty and in uniform, drove Mr. Merling in an unmarked car to the Dolphins’ training complex 20 minutes away.

After Mr. Merling met with team officials, the commander drove him home to get his belongings — even though a judge had ordered Mr. Merling to “stay away” and avoid any potential contact with Ms. Lennon.

Merling was never charged for the crime because the case was dropped when Lennon could not testify. She told The Times she could not testify because "she could not return to Florida because she was eight months pregnant."

Lennon told The Times that Merling continued to harass her "into this year, including threatening text messages and angry outbursts that left dents in her car and front door."

Merling has not been on an NFL team since playing in three games for the Washington Redskins in 2013.

- Sarah Barshop

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