HAWTHORN'S Sam Mitchell has escaped penalty for his 'needle jab' sledge to Essendon players on Saturday but the AFL has warned such action won't be tolerated in the future.

AFL football operations boss Mark Evans said the executive had taken Mitchell's public expression of regret over the incident into account when deciding to take no further action.

Thirty-four past and present Essendon players are facing a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing into the club's 2012 supplements program after WADA appealed the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal's decision in March to cleared them of of anti-doping violations.   

Mitchell's sledge was 'naive and idiotic': Hird

Evans said players needed to consider how they wanted to be perceived before making such gestures. 

"[They] have to accept they are displaying themselves publicly and that will be a reflection on them and their club, so I actually ask players to consider 'How do you wish to be viewed?'" he said. 

Evans said Essendon was comfortable with the decision and he had informed Hawthorn that he would speak to Mitchell on Monday afternoon. 

"My message to Sam is pretty clear. He has got a great amount of respect in this game for what he has done over a number of years and to ask him [to consider] how does he wish to be viewed," he said. 

Evans said the AFL hoped they would not see such a sledge again.

"People need to respect the position of the Essendon players," Evans said. 

"I would suspect now that we have seen it once, it won't happen again."