Austin Watson was permitted to take part in Nashville’s pregame introductions during the team’s home opener Tuesday despite his suspension.
The Predators forward, serving a 27-game ban for a domestic violence incident stemming from a June 16 altercation, was on the ice with his teammates in full uniform ahead of Nashville’s 3-0 loss to the Flames.
Austin Watson, who is suspended for the first 27 games, was just introduced. Got a nice welcome from the crowd.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) October 10, 2018
Watson’s appearance didn’t sit well with some fans and drew plenty of criticism on Twitter.
Me: Okay maybe the Preds haven’t handled this the best they could have, but hey it’s the home opener and we’re 2-0 and everything’s cool and the poop cloud of Austin Watson maybe isn’t as bad as I thought.
— Chase Stejskal (@chaseallister) October 10, 2018
Really disappointed that the Predators chose to include Watson in the opening. It hits me hard as a female fan. -OL https://t.co/aLHPEvKkDX
— Something’s Not Right (@notrightpodcast) October 10, 2018
Watson was suspended Sept. 12 following an investigation by the league and an in-person hearing in New York on Sept. 7 to determine the relevant facts and circumstances relating to the incident involving Watson and his domestic partner.
The altercation ultimately resulted in Watson pleading no contest to a charge of domestic assault on July 24.
The NHL Players Association later announced it would appeal the suspension.