Jenn Guardino, girlfriend of Predators’ Austin Watson, says he never abused her

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Jenn Guardino, the girlfriend of Austin Watson, has come out with a statement saying that the Nashville Predators forward did not physically abuse during an incident in June, clarifying that the incident was the result of her battle with alcoholism.

Watson is currently serving an 18-game suspension for his role in the domestic violence incident, one that began at 28 games before an independent arbitrator reduced it earlier this week.

In a statement first tweeted out by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman on Saturday, Guardino thanked family and friends for their support and extended her compassion to victims of domestic violence before clarifying the incident that took place in June.

“The incident that took place on June 16th, however, was not an act of domestic violence,” she wrote. “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. I have struggled with alcoholism for many years and I am actively involved in AA.”

Guardino thanked Watson for his continued support through her treatment.

“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.”

The 26-year-old reportedly shoved Guardino during an argument at a gas station in Tennessee over Guardino’s drinking, which had led the couple to miss a wedding.

Watson pleaded no contest to the charges in July.

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Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck