Austin Watson's girlfriend: June incident 'was not an act of domestic violence'

Austin Watson (Getty Images)

A few days after Austin Watson’s 27-game suspension was reduced to 18 games, his girlfriend Jenn Guardino released a statement Saturday, saying her “behavior and state of intoxication” led to his arrest and the June incident “was not an act of domestic violence.”

Guardino wrote in a statement obtained by Sportsnet, in part: “The incident that took place on June 16th, however, was not an act of domestic violence. Austin Watson has never and would never hit or abuse me. My behavior and state of intoxication led to the police being involved that day.”

Guardino revealed she has struggled with alcoholism for many years and expressed gratitude of Watson’s support throughout her treatment, while also apologizing to the Nashville community. 

She added: “We handled matters poorly on June 16th and know that we need to make better decisions going forward. I take full responsibility for my actions on that day. I would like to sincerely apologize to everyone involved for the negative attention that followed this incident, including the Nashville Predators community and the city of Nashville.”

Watson, who was originally suspended Sept. 12 for “unacceptable off-ice conduct,” was arrested in Tennessee on June 16 after police were called to a gas station in response to a possible domestic violence situation.

When officers arrived, Watson allegedly told police he had been involved in an argument with his domestic partner and he acknowledged he pushed Guardino. Officers found red marks on her chest and she alleged Watson caused them, according to ESPN. The altercation ultimately resulted in Watson pleading no contest to a charge of domestic assault on July 24.

Watson, 26, will be eligible to return to the Predators’ lineup when Nashville takes on the Coyotes on Nov. 15.