Former No.1 draft pick Jonathan Patton has called time on his AFL career, retiring after 95 games across eight seasons, with his last six for Hawthorn.
Patton, taken with the top pick by Greater Western Sydney in the 2011 draft, struggled with injury across his career and was traded to Hawthorn at the end of the 2019 season in exchange for a future fourth-round pick, before being stood down in January this year following allegations of lewd behaviour towards multiple women.
The 27-year-old spent more than a month in hospital before leaving in early March, which opened the door for the AFL to ramp up its investigation in his alleged behaviour, as reported by foxfooty.com.au.
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“I have made the difficult decision to retire from football to focus on my health, wellbeing, and future outside of the game,” Patton told the Hawthorn 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.
“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.”
In its media release confirming Patton’s retirement, Hawthorn stated it “acknowledges this has been a difficult period for all involved” and supported Patton’s decision “as well as his commitment to learning from the past”.
Patton’s deal expired at the end of 2022, but Herald Sun reporter Jon Ralph told Fox Sports News that Patton was set to walk away from any financial settlement.
“That salary is owed to him if they try to agree to some sort of settlement, but my very strong understanding is he walked away from that deal, much more interested than getting his health back on track than any financial settlement,” he said.
Shortly after Patton’s retirement announcement, the Giants released a statement wishing Paton “the very best in the next chapter of his life”.
“Jon was a key part of the GIANTS in our formative years and we acknowledge the difficult decision he has made to retire to focus on life away from the game,” club CEO Dave Matthews told the club.
“Jon showed great resilience in his time at the GIANTS, particularly in the face of a number of serious injuries that saw him play 89 of a possible 187 games in his time at the club.
“All of us at the GIANTS wish Jon the very best in the next chapter of his life.”