HAWTHORN forward Jonathon Patton has apologised for his inappropriate behaviour towards women while announcing his retirement the AFL.

Patton was stood down by the Hawks in January when accused by at least four women of sending sexually explicit photos and videos of himself via social media.

The No.1 pick at the 2011 NAB AFL Draft on Friday announced his retirement from the AFL, effective immediately.

"I also want to take this opportunity to apologise for my inappropriate behaviour towards women," Patton said in statement released by Hawthorn.

"Over the past few months, I have taken time to reflect on my mistakes.

"My actions were completely unacceptable and I am truly sorry for any distress I have caused.

"I am committed to continuing to learn from my mistakes and actively make the necessary changes."

Jonathon Patton on the bench during his last AFL game in round 14, 2000. Picture: AFL Photos

The Hawks stood down Patton after the complaints from women in January and, soon after, he was admitted to hospital, citing mental health concerns.

The club launched an investigation which was taken over by the AFL's integrity unit.

The AFL released a statement acknowledging Patton's retirement and his apology to women.

"The AFL integrity unit, which was investigating the behaviour ... has informed the complainants of Patton's decision to retire," an AFL statement said.

Patton was taken with the first selection in 2011 by GWS and played 89 games for the Sydney-based club in a stint marred by having knee reconstruction surgeries three times.

He was traded to Hawthorn at the end of the 2019 season and, still troubled by various injuries, managed only six games for the Hawks.

Hawthorn and Patton released a statement about two hours after coach Alastair Clarkson fronted a media conference when Patton's decision wasn't disclosed.

"I have made the difficult decision to retire from football to focus on my health, wellbeing, and future outside of the game," Patton said in the statement.

"The constant battle to overcome injuries since I entered the AFL 10 years ago has been relentless and, on many occasions, overwhelming.

"Whilst I have loved every minute of playing on the AFL stage, my enjoyment of the game has ultimately diminished.

"As such, I will not play football at any level this year."