Hawks forward Jonathon Patton announces retirement, apologises for actions on social media

Jonathon Patton watches on after leaving the field with injury during Hawthorn's Round 14 AFL clash with Essendon, August 27, 2020 James Elsby/AFL Photos via Getty Image

Hawthorn key forward Jonathon Patton has announced his AFL retirement effective immediately, drawing the curtain on his tumultuous 95 game career.

Patton, the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft, played 89 games for the Giants before being traded to the Hawks at the end of 2019.

The 27-year-old had not played senior football since Round 14 last year, after being stood down by the club following an investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct on social media. Patton was admitted to hospital to assist with his mental health.

"I have made the difficult decision to retire from football to focus on my health, wellbeing, and future outside of the game," Patton said on Friday. "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."

Shortly after Patton's announcement on Friday afternoon, the AFL released a statement of its own.

"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."