Jobe Watson Issues Statement On Behalf Of Suspended Essendon Players

Jobe Watson, the captain of the Essendon Football Club, and one of the players levelled with year-long suspensions yesterday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, has today issued a brief media statement on behalf of his teammates.

The statement represents the first communication issued by the suspended Essendon 34, 12 of whom remain at the Bombers.
Watson expressed that he, along with his teammates, were “devastated” at the CAS’ decision, which upheld an appeal lodged by world anti-doping body WADA, overturning a previous verdict of not guilty from the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal.
Watson stated that the group of players was considering all their options – including legal ones – whilst maintaining their innocence; a stance the players have steadfastly stuck to since the saga began over 1,000 days ago.
The 2012 Brownlow Medallist also stated that the group was “struggling to come to terms” with the decision, which rejected a motion of no significant fault and instead imposed the maximum penalty on all 34 past and present players involved.
The full statement reads as follows:
“The decision announced by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to uphold WADA’s appeal is devastating.

We are struggling to come to terms with this decision, and feel it does not support the players’ firm belief that we are innocent.

Our legal team is conducting a thorough review of the decision and will explore any avenues available to us.

The players would like to thank our families, our friends, our members and supporters for their unwavering support.

We would also like to thank the AFLPA for their ongoing support throughout the last three years.

We will not be making any further comment and ask the media to please respect our privacy during this extremely challenging period.”

The AFL has set a date in February to hear cases for and against stripping Watson of his Brownlow Medal.

Meanwhile, Essendon supporters have rallied behind their beleaguered club, with over 600 signing up or renewing their club memberships in the hours following the decision from the CAS.
Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images.