NHL Criticizes Arbitrator’s Decision to Reduce Austin Watson’s Suspension

hockey | 10/12/18
Jonathan Kozub / NHLI via Getty Images

An arbitrator for the NHL has reduced the suspension of Nashville Predators forward Austin Waston after he pled no contest in July to a domestic assault charge.

Watson was served with a 27-game suspension from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. ON Thursday, arbitrator Shyam Das reduced the suspension to just 18 games.

The NFL issued the following statement about the reduction on Friday:

“We are disappointed with the Arbitrator’s decision.”

“We firmly believe that the right of appeal to an arbitrator of League discipline was never intended to substitute the arbitrator’s judgment for that of the Commissioner, particularly on matters of important League policy and the articulation of acceptable standards of conduct for individuals involved in the National Hockey League.”

The league then said, ”we will not hesitate to adhere to and enforce – through firm discipline as necessary – the standards of personal conduct we feel are appropriate for our league.”

Each domestic violence case in the NHL is examined on a case-by-case basis with no official policy in place.

Watson was arrested on June 16 after he engaged in an argument with his girlfriend. An eyewitness flagged down a police officer and notified them that the NHL player had shoved his girlfriend during the argument.

After examing the alleged victim, officers said they found red marks on her chest. Watson was charged with and pleaded no contest to domestic assault on July 24.