The Bomber chose to contest the charge at the Tribunal, the first of three cases on Tuesday, with Essendon attempting to challenge the charge of Rough Conduct.
"We're not disputing Sparrow's head made contact with the turf ... what we're saying is that this was not a dangerous tackle because it was not unreasonable in the circumstances," Essendon legal representation Ben Ihle said.
"The potential to cause injury is not hypothetical to the point of abstraction. It must be the potential of injury in the context of this tackle."
The AFL meanwhile, argued that Merrett's tackle put Sparrow in a vulnerable position and had the potential to cause injury, making it a dangerous tackle.
"Potential to cause injury needs to be taken into account when a tackle drives a player's head into the ground or has the potential to drive the player's head into the ground," AFL representation Nick Pane said.
After deliberation, the Tribunal chose to uphold the the 27-year-old's suspension.
Merrett's suspension will see him miss Essendon's traditional ANZAC Day clash against the Pies, but will be free to return in Round 7 against Geelong.