It was announced on September 12th, 2018, that forward Austin Watson of the Nashville Predators was to be suspended 27 games for a domestic-violence case.
Watson was charged with domestic-assault for an incident that involved the mother of his child that happened on July 16th. The NHL does not tolerate this kind of behaviour and made that very clear by suspending this forward for almost one third of this season.
“I have determined that Nashville player Austin Watson engaged in a physical confrontation with his domestic partner. Today’s ruling, while tailored to the specific facts of this case and the individuals involved, is necessary and consistent with the NHL’s strongly held view that it cannot and will not tolerate this and similar types of conduct,” Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner stated.
This incident did indeed make it clear that domestic violence is an issue and that it should not be tolerated even when the perpetrator is a successful athlete. Women and children should not be susceptible to assault by anyone, and athletes should not be given special treatment just because of who they are. The NHL is showing that they are with the victims and will not tolerate this behaviour even though it is outside the sports world, players actions in their personal lives will affect them in their careers as well.
All sporting organizations should have a policy about domestic violence, and how they will deal with the players who are charged with it, even though it is outside of the sport itself.
Is it fair to see some athletes in the sports world be put on a pedestal and let off easy just because of their successful careers? Or should they be treated like all other individuals and have to face the consequences of their actions? Should an athletes’ personal life and their sport be two completely different worlds?