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Sport Hawthorn forward Jonathon Patton retires from AFL amid lewd messages investigation

10:15  16 april  2021
10:15  16 april  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Hawthorn forward Jonathon Patton has announced his retirement from the AFL amid the governing body's investigation into lewd messages he allegedly sent to several women.

Patton was stood down by the Hawks in January after he was accused of sending sexually explicit messages to a number of women via social media.

Only days after the allegations against Patton were made public, the former GWS player was hospitalised, with his management revealing their client 'had been admitted to hospital to assist in the management of his ongoing mental health'.

The Hawks initially began the investigation into Patton's alleged behaviour before it was confirmed in February that the AFL's Integrity Unit would take over the case.

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No punishment has been officially handed down by the AFL to Patton, who confirmed his retirement would mean he would not play football at any level this year before apologising for his '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," Patton said in an official statement on Hawthorn's website.

"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.

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"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."

An AFL response to Patton's retirement indicated that the decision by the player to admit guilt in his conduct towards women and sit out of football this year would see the investigation into his behaviour no longer proceed.

"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 AFL's 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."

Patton was selected by GWS with pick one in the 2011 AFL Draft - becoming a foundation player the new franchise in their inaugural season in 2012.

He played 89 matches for the Giants across eight seasons - with his career often interruped by injuries, including two ACL reconstructions.

Patton crossed over to Hawthorn the 2020 season, managing six games before being stood down by the Hawks prior to the current campaign.

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