Predators' Austin Watson (Ann Arbor, Country Day) gets probation in assault case

Associated Press
Austin Watson was sentenced to three months' probation Tuesday.

Franklin, Tenn. — Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson on Tuesday pleaded no contest to domestic assault but can have the misdemeanor charge dismissed if he fulfills terms of his judicial diversion program.

Mark Puryear, Watson’s lawyer, says his client must successfully serve three months of probation and complete both an in-patient treatment program and a batterer’s intervention program.

Puryear said that Watson, an Ann Arbor native and former Metro Detroit prep star, looks forward to getting back with his girlfriend and taking care of their baby daughter.

Watson, 26, was arrested June 16.

According to a Williamson County court affidavit, a Franklin police officer was flagged down by a witness to a possible domestic situation at a gas station. The officer noticed the passenger of a car “trying to back away from being shoved away.” The report said the passenger said “stop” and was trying to cover her face.

Police said Watson told them at the time that he and his girlfriend were having an argument and he acknowledged that he pushed her. Officers said they found red marks on the woman’s chest, and she said Watson had caused them.

Predators officials didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Watson’s plea.

When Watson was arrested last month, the Predators said in a statement they “are still gathering facts and it’s not appropriate for us to comment further at this time.” Team officials noted “this is a matter that we are taking very seriously and we will cooperate fully with the investigation by law enforcement.”

Watson is a former first-round draft pick who scored a career-high 14 goals and had five assists in 76 games during the 2017-18 regular season. He had five goals and three assists in 13 playoff games.

Watson has 23 goals and 24 assists in 216 career regular-season games, all with the Predators.

He played one season at Detroit Country Day and another at Ann Arbor Garbriel Richard before being drafted into the OHL.