Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson, who recently participated in an anti-domestic violence campaign, was arrested Saturday for an alleged domestic assault of his girlfriend.
The NHL star was arrested in Franklin, Tennessee, after a witness flagged down a passing police officer and said a possible domestic assault was occuring at a nearby gas station, according to the Tennessean in Nashville.
When the police officer responded to the gas station, he saw a vehicle with a female passenger who was attempting to “back away from being shoved away,” Watson’s arrest affidavit says, according to the Tennessean.
“The passenger said ‘stop’ and was trying to cover her face,” the affidavit says.
Watson reportedly said they were having an argument about her drinking and not being able to go to a wedding they had planned to attend.
Watson admitted to pushing the woman, and the police officer who arrested him noticed red marks on the woman’s chest, the affidavit says.
Watson was charged him with domestic assault and has been released on $4,500 bond. He is due back in court June 28.
The woman and Watson had a baby in April, the Tennessean reported. Watson divorced his wife Karly Marie Stothart in December 2016.
The Predators drafted Wilson in 2010 and signed a three-year contract extension worth $3.3 million last July, according to ESPN.
In the 2017 season, Watson had a career-high 14 goals and 19 points as Nashville won the Presidents’ Trophy for the NHL’s best record, not counting the eight points he scored in the playoffs, before his team was eliminated by the Winnipeg Jets.
During that season, Watson, former captain Mike Fisher, and defensemen P.K. Subban and Ryan Ellis were part of a domestic violence public awareness campaign titled "Unsilence the Violence.” The team donated $500,000 to a YWCA anti-domestic violence program, according to the Tennessean.
The program, now called AMEND but then called MEND, is a YWCA program sponsored by the hockey team. According to the YWCA website, it is "a primary prevention program dedicated to ending violence against women and girls by engaging and educating men and boys."
In response to Watson’s arrest, the Nashville Predators issued a statement:
"We are aware of the incident involving Austin Watson on Saturday night. 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.”
[Photo: Franklin Tennessee Police Department]