Just as Round Five was getting underway, Jonathon Patton announced his immediate retirement from all levels of football. Patton, 27, was the number one draft selection in 2011, being snapped up by the Giants. He has struggled with injuries across his eight-year career. He played 89 games for GWS before being traded to Hawthorn at the end of 2019 but has managed just six games for the Hawks. The injury issues are only one part of the story. In January, he was stood down from Hawthorn after at least four women complained that he sent them lewd and explicit photos, videos, and messages on social media. He was later hospitalized for mental health issues and released in March. Since his release, the AFL Integrity Unit is free to interview him and ramp up their investigations.
In making the announcement, Patton said, “I have made the difficult decision to retire ... to focus on my health, wellbeing, and future outside of the game.
The constant battle to overcome injuries ... has been relentless and, on many occasions, overwhelming. Whilst I have loved every minute of playing ... my enjoyment of the game has ultimately diminished. As such, I will not play football at any level this year."
He also apologized for his inappropriate behavior, “I also want to take this opportunity to apologize for my inappropriate behavior 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.”
Hawthorn issued a statement acknowledging that it has been a difficult period for all involved and pledged their continued support. They also requested that his privacy be respected. Patton will walk away without any financial settlement and the Integrity Unit informed the complainants of his retirement. The AFL also acknowledged his retirement, his admission that what he did was wrong, and his commitment to learning from his mistakes.
In a statement GWS wished him all the best for the future with CEO Dave Matthews saying, "Jon was a key part of the Giants in our formative years and we acknowledge the difficult decision he has made ... Jon showed great resilience ... particularly in the face of a number of serious injuries that saw him play [only] 89 of a possible 187 games ... ".
Sources: Megan Croucher, Hawthorn Media Release, Jay Allen, AFL Media Release, foxsports.com.au
Article last changed on Sunday, April 18, 2021 - 12:04 PM EDT