Austin Watson of the Nashville Predators has once again been suspended. On Aug. 1, 2018, Watson was suspended for 27 games following a domestic assault charge. His sentence was later reduced to 11 in early October, ultimately serving a total of 18 games. Now the troubled player faces his second ban of the season. This time, it’s for alcohol abuse. On Jan. 29, he has been indefinitely suspended without pay.
Nashville Predators’ Austin Watson Suspended
Austin Watson has been placed in Stage 2 of the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program because of alcohol abuse. He will be suspended without pay until cleared.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) January 29, 2019
Watson will once again have to watch the rest of his teammates charge toward the playoffs as he is suspended again. The NHL and NHLPA subsequently admitted him into Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Heath Program. Watson will be allowed to play once again as soon as he’s deemed fit to return. In response, the Predators released the following statement:
Statement from the Predators
“The Nashville Predators are saddened and disappointed for Austin Watson and his family as he enters the NHL / NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program for alcohol-related treatment. We are grateful for the NHL and NHLPA’s program and will cooperate in any way necessary as we continue to support Austin and his family as they go through this difficult time. Because of the personal nature of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program and our exclusive focus on Austin and his family’s well-being, there will be no further comment on this matter.”
Watson opens up
A mere 18 days prior, the 27-year-old publicly opened up about his mental health issues. The Michigan native posted a lengthy explanation to Instagram detailing his struggles with anxiety, depression, and alcoholism.
View this post on Instagram
As my 26th year comes to an end in a couple days, I’ve found myself reflecting lately. In doing so, I’ve felt a deep urge to be a bit more open. After lots of prayer and contemplation, I’ve found that there’s one thing I need to share that’s been a part of my life and anyone else’s life that’s been close with me for quite some time. With Jennifer’s permission to use the word “we” in certain places, the picture above is a note that’s been sitting in my phone for what seems like ages. It’s a condensed version of some words I’d had gone back and forth with releasing as a statement as I returned to the ice. While I won’t go into any more of my family’s and my personal life, because it still isn’t the right time for us and to not create another individual distraction in the midst of our team’s season, I found it only fair to share briefly of my story. Mental Illness runs rampant in the world today. In my experience it can often feel lonely, consuming, and at times unbearable. Please know that you are not alone. There are so many of us who seem to have the picture perfect life, no problems in the world. Yet I deal and I battle just as much as and no more than the next person. I’ve been blessed with many obstacles, traumas and hard times to overcome. Doing the next right thing doesn’t always seem easy, but it’s worth it. Perspective is everything to me, and when I look at the beautiful and downright amazing things in my life that I feel unworthy of, I realize how fortunate I am to be me. If you’re feeling alone today, you’re not. If you feel like no ones cares, I do. If there doesn’t seem to be any chance of it getting better, believe me it will. I hope I’ve helped someone today the way others who’ve shared have helped me. P.S. to the esteemed members of the local and national media, I still won’t touch on either matter past what I’ve said above at this time. Thank you for your courtesy, respect and understanding. On a lighter note I’ve also accompanied this post with Jennifer and I’s beautiful #adidas model. She puts a smile on my face every time ?. #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #mentalillness #hope #grateful #thisisus #giveback #longwinded ?♂️
What’s next for Nashville
Watson has seven goals and six assists across 34 games this season. Nashville’s former first-round selection of 2010 has yet to eclipse 20 points in a season. Averaging 14:29 time on ice, they’ll surely miss their third line skater. With the trade deadline hurriedly approaching, they may look to acquire another depth right winger to replace Watson in his absence. Nevertheless, the Predators sit atop the Central Division, rolling towards another Stanley Cup run.
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