Essendon favourite Jobe Watson has announced he will hand back his 2012 Brownlow Medal.
Last month a Swiss court opted not to hear a group of 34 past and present Essendon players’ appeal against their doping bans following the AFL club’s supplements saga.
Watson, who won the AFL’s top individual accolade in 2012, says it has been distressing having his integrity questioned, and has opted to give the medal back to the organising body.
“It is with mixed emotions that I have decided to hand back my 2012 Brownlow Medal,” Watson said in a statement.
“It is now up to the AFL Commission at their meeting on Tuesday to make a decision as to what they want to do with it.”
“It has been incredibly distressing for me to have people question my integrity and infer an intention to act against the spirit of the game, a spirit that is intrinsically a part of who I am.”
Watson said that with a cloud over his team-mates, giving the award back was the only thing to do in the spirit of the Brownlow Medal.
“The basic principle behind this prestigious award is to honour the fairest and best,” the Bombers captain said.
“If there is a question in people’s minds as to whether the 2012 award is tainted, the fairest and best thing to do is to give it back and honour the history that has gone before me.
“I want to make it clear that today’s decision does not in anyway reflect a change in my personal opinion regarding the merits of the CAS finding, but rather reflects my desire to put to a close further speculation about what should be done with the 2012 Brownlow Medal.”
New West Coast midfielder Sam Mitchell has refused to comment about the possibility of becoming the official 2012 Brownlow Medallist.