AFL star retires after lewd image apology
AFL former No. 1 draft pick Jonathon Patton has retired immediately.
The star forward's decision to hang up his boots was announced by Hawthorn on Friday afternoon, ending one of the saddest careers footy has seen in recent years.
In announcing his retirement, Patton also issued a public apology for "inappropriate" behaviour towards women on social media, declaring he was "truly sorry".
Patton was in February admitted to hospital to seek treatment on mental health issues.
His hospitalisation came as Hawthorn continued to investigate allegations he sent lewd, unsolicited messages to women on social media.
Patton was stood down from Hawthorn while the club investigated claims from four women that the 27-year-old sent them unsolicited images and videos.
The AFL is still yet to announce the outcome of its integrity unit investigation into the claims against Patton.
His retirement comes after years of serious injuries, which ruined a career that was predicted to see him become one of the biggest stars in football.
He was the first player drafted by GWS before they entered the AFL and he was expected to be the face of the franchise.
Instead he was traded to Hawthorn at the end of the 2019 season in exchange for a future fourth-round pick.
His retirement message was centred around an apology for "inappropriate" behaviour towards women.
"I have made the difficult decision to retire from football to focus on my health, wellbeing, and future outside of the game," he said.
"The constant battle to overcome injuries since I entered the AFL 10 years ago has been relentless and, on many occasions, overwhelming. Whilst I have loved every minute of playing on the AFL stage, my enjoyment of the game has ultimately diminished. As such, I will not play football at any level this year.
"I also want to take this opportunity to apologise for my inappropriate behaviour towards women. Over the past few months, I have taken time to reflect on my mistakes. My actions were completely unacceptable, and I am truly sorry for any distress I have caused. I am committed to continuing to learn from my mistakes and actively make the necessary changes.
"I have very much appreciated the opportunities I have been given by both Hawthorn and the Giants and for the continued support I have received from countless teammates, staff and fans from both clubs."
The AFL released a statement following Patton's announcement.
"The AFL has acknowledged the retirement of Jonathon Patton and his decision to withdraw from all levels of football in 2021 and his apology for the distress caused by his inappropriate behaviour towards women," the statement read.
"The AFL is committed to the respectful treatment of women and acknowledges Patton's admission that his actions were unacceptable and accepts his commitment to learning from his mistakes.
"The AFL Integrity Unit, which was investigating the behaviour under the League's Respect and Responsibility policy, has informed the complainants of Patton's decision to retire as an AFL footballer."
Originally published as AFL star retires after lewd image apology