The NHL has suspended Austin Watson of the Nashville Predators for 27 games for the upcoming season. This is following his no contest plea to domestic assault over the summer.
The NHL has suspended #preds Austin Watson 27 games for “unacceptable off-ice conduct.” He plead no contest to a charge of domestic assault in July.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 12, 2018
In a statement, the league indicated that it “cannot and will not tolerate this and similar types of conduct.”
The Predators have not yet announced if they will add to the suspension, or if they will take further measures by buying out his contract.
Some have called for the team to make a statement with Watson as the team has made a very public commitment to combating domestic violence. The team named Watson as one of their ambassadors of the AMEND program in 2017.
The team did make a statement following the announcement of the suspension:
Watson arrested for domestic assault
In June, Police in Franklin, TN arrested Watson following an incident at a gas station. Watson reportedly pushed his girlfriend following an argument involving alcohol. Then in July, Watson pled no contest to the charges, which means an automatic domestic assault conviction.
Statement from @PredsNHL forward Austin Watson’s attorney Mark Puryear on his no contest plea to misdemeanor domestic assault. He’ll be on probation for 3 months then if he abides by it’s conditions the case will be expunged. pic.twitter.com/CxAlmnSTQx
— Natalie Neysa Alund (@nataliealund) July 24, 2018
The Predators later issued a statement that they would “consult and cooperate with the NHL as an investigation is conducted into this matter.” According to the CBA, the league has authority to impose discipline for off-the-ice “conduct which is detrimental to or against the welfare of the league.”
For Watson, that discipline will come in the form of a 27 game suspension.
The Nashville Predators have made no indication that they are considering cutting Austin Watson. For the time being, it looks like Watson will remain a member of the organization, even after serving the suspension.
— Featured image via USA Today —