Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson made a lengthy Instagram post on Friday where he revealed his struggles with alcoholism, depression and anxiety — something he’s dealt with since he was 18.
Watson, who will turn 27 on Sunday, was suspended 18 games and the entirety of the preseason for “unacceptable off-ice conduct” following the domestic violence incident on June 16, 2018 with his girlfriend. He pleaded no contest to the domestic assault charge a week later and was sentenced to three months’ probation, a 26-week batterer’s intervention course and an impatient treatment program.
In his post on Friday, Watson said he had been sober for nearly two years until May of last year, when he began drinking again. His girlfriend, Jennifer, is also an alcoholic and relapsed around the same time.
Their relationship, he said, has become “tense” leading up to his arrest, but said he didn’t physically harm her during the incident.
“During the month leading up to the incident, we had both relapsed, our relationship had become tense, and we made a series of poor decisions that lead us to that day,” he wrote. “On June 16th, we engaged in a heated, nonphysical argument. I did not cause marks on her chest or blood on her leg. I did handle matters that day poorly and did not uphold the standards of an employee of the Nashville Predators or National Hockey League.
“I take full responsibility for my involvement in the argument and have learned from the situation and taken the necessary steps to ensure that nothing of this nature happens again.”
Watson is currently in his fourth full season with the Predators, and has scored six goals and had two assists for them so far this season.
Now, Watson said, both he and Jennifer are in a good place.
“We are healthy, happy and committed to our own individual sobriety as well as continuing to strengthen our relationship,” Watson wrote. “We have learned from our mistakes and are excited to move forward in our relationship. We wish only to raise our daughter Olivia in the most healthy and loving atmosphere we can provide.”
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