Watson to hand back his Brownlow
Jobe Watson's full statement

ESSENDON has taken the blame for Jobe Watson's decision to hand back his 2012 Brownlow Medal.

Watson announced on Friday he would be returning the award for the best and fairest player in the competition, with the AFL Commission to decide next Tuesday whether the runners-up that year – Sam Mitchell and Trent Cotchin – are retrospectively handed medals. 

The Commission was set to make a decision on whether Watson should be allowed to keep the Brownlow after he, along with the rest of the Essendon 34, was found guilty by the Court of Arbitration for Sport for doping.

2012: Jobe takes out Charlie

Lindsay Tanner became Bombers chairman at the end of last year and said the club would keep supporting Watson.

"Jobe has remained unassailably dignified under the most extraordinary pressure over the past four years," Tanner said in a statment on Essendon's website.

"The club takes responsibility for placing Jobe in this position and unreservedly apologises to him and his family. 

"Jobe is a person of the highest integrity and character and has the total support and admiration of our membership, staff, executive and board.

"The Essendon family has been, and will continue to be, incredibly proud of Jobe Watson."

AFL Players' Association CEO Paul Marsh said the organisation, "whilst extremely disappointed for Jobe Watson, respects his decision to hand back his 2012 Brownlow Medal.

"Despite this outcome, Jobe remains a true champion of our game and a universally respected leader.

"Jobe has spoken of his values driving his decision and in all of the AFLPA's dealings with him he has proven to be a man of great integrity and he has displayed incredible selflessness in making this decision.

"We hope now that Jobe and all of his 33 past and present teammates are given the space to move on from this sorry saga."

Top 10 vote-winners in the 2012 Brownlow Medal

1. Jobe Watson - 30 votes
2. Trent Cotchin - 26
Sam Mitchell - 26
4. Dane Swan - 25
Scott Thompson - 25
6. Gary Ablett - 24
7. Patrick Dangerfield - 23
8. Dayne Beams - 19
Lenny Hayes - 19
Josh Kennedy - 19