Essendon’s Jobe Watson To Return 2012 Brownlow Medal Over Doping Scandal

Essendon Football Club bedrock Jobe Watson has made the call to hand his 2012 Brownlow Medal back to the AFL, saying he doesn’t want the spectre of the club’s doping scandal looming over his win.

In a statement, Watson said he’ll be handing back the sport’s highest individual accolade “with mixed emotions,” and that it’s now up to the league to decide what to do with the medal.

After referencing a Swiss court’s recent decision not to hear an appeal from the Bombers deemed to have broken doping guidelines, Watson said “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.

“The basic principle behind this prestigious award is to honour the fairest and best. If there is a question in peoples’ 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.”
Watson, who served a year-long suspension because of the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s findings, said this decision doesn’t change his stance that CAS‘ ruling was based on “perception rather than evidence.”

He was scheduled to face the AFL Commission next week regarding his award, and his decision ends a long period of speculation regarding what would become of the medal.

Read the full statement here. 

Source: ABC / AFL.
Photo: Scott Barbour / Getty.