NHL, NHLPA reinstate Predators' Austin Watson

The NHL and NHLPA have reinstated Nashville Predators Austin Watson after he was suspended infinitely for an alcohol-related relapse on January 23rd, 2019.

At the beginning of the season, Watson was suspended 27-games for pleading guilty to a misdemeanour for a domestic assault of his girlfriend, which was then reduced to 18-games by an arbitrator. His girlfriend Jenn Guardino later stated that Watson didn't touch her and it was just a verbal confrontation between the both regarding their alcohol-related problems.

Watson posted an Instagram post about his and his girlfriend's troubled lives which gave fans and media an inside look at mental health for professional athletes. 

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 🤦‍♂️

A post shared by Austin Watson (@watson_austin92) on

Since his last suspension, Watson hasn't played since Jan. 23rd. We all wish Watson and his family the best.

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