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Predators’ Watson arrested and charged with domestic assault, released on bond

Nashville Predators winger Austin Watson was arrested Saturday and charged with domestic assault. The Predators said in a statement that it “is a matter that we are taking very seriously and will cooperate fully with the investigation by law enforcement.”

Nashville Predators winger Austin Watson was arrested Saturday evening and has subsequently been charged with domestic assault.

According to The Tennessean, who obtained an arrest affidavit, a Franklin Police Department officer arrived at a gas station located roughly 20 minutes outside of Nashville on Saturday evening where Watson, 26, was involved in a dispute with his girlfriend inside a vehicle. Per the affidavit, Watson’s girlfriend, who was the passenger in the vehicle, was trying to cover her face and “back away from being shoved away,” and Watson later admitted to pushing his girlfriend. The affidavit also stated that Watson and his girlfriend were arguing about her drinking and that they would be unable to attend a wedding, according to The Tennessean.

Watson was released from jail on a $4,500 bond, but will be due to appear in court on June 28 as a result of the domestic-assault charge.

The NHL is aware of the incident, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly told The Athletic’s Katie Strang that their “current focus is on the well-being and safety of Austin’s wife, their child, and Austin himself,” saying also that the situation would be “dealt with in due course” before the beginning of the 2018-19 campaign. The Predators also released a statement and acknowledged that they were aware of Watson’s arrest not long after the news broke.

“We are still gathering facts and it is not appropriate for us to comment further at this time, but this is a matter that we are taking very seriously and will cooperate fully with the investigation by law enforcement,” the statement read, according to Fox 17 News. “The Nashville Predators have and will continue to stand side by side with AMEND in the fight to end violence against women.”

AMEND Together is a program run by YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee “dedicated to ending violence against women and girls by engaging and educating men and boys.” An upcoming AMEND Experience event, scheduled for Sept. 13, 2018, is sponsored by the Predators and will be held at Bridgestone Arena. The team’s president and CEO Sean Henry is “one of the program’s chief advocates,” according to the YWCA Nashville website. In addition, Watson, as well as then-Predators captain Mike Fisher and teammates P.K. Subban and Ryan Ellis, was part of a campaign called “Unsilence the Violence” in January 2017. The campaign was paired with a $500,000 pledge by the Nashville Predators Foundation to AMEND, which was then known as MEND.

Watson, drafted 18th overall by the Predators in 2010, has been a fixture of Nashville’s bottom-six for the past three seasons after spending three campaigns with the organization’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. Over the past three seasons, Watson has scored 22 goals and 46 points in 210 games, averaging 11:44 per game and accruing 254 penalty minutes. Watson, who just completed the first season of a three-year, $3.3-million contract he signed with the Predators last summer, scored a career high 14 goals and 19 points in 2017-18.

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