BRISBANE veteran Mitch Robinson has described the "emotional" phone call from good mate Cam Ellis-Yolmen about his decision to retire from the AFL.
Ellis-Yolmen was put on the Lions' inactive list last Friday after not meeting the requirements of the League's vaccination policy around COVID-19.
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Speaking on his Rip Through It podcast, Robinson said Brisbane players were fully aware of Ellis-Yolmen's stance through the pre-season, but only got the final verdict last week.
"I think most of the players understand who is and who isn't getting vaccinated," Robinson said.
"Cam wasn't hiding that fact.
"I've known for a long time Yolmen's situation and I'm not going to get personal into why he has and why he hasn't got the vaccination, that's not my place to say, that's his.
"Knowing his situation and knowing what he's going through … I've got a lot of sympathy for him."
Robinson said rather than go to training and sit through a team meeting last Friday, Ellis-Yolmen decided to personally call a handful of teammates to explain his situation.
"His first words were like … 'I'm going to step away from football for a while and sort everything out'.
"It was a pretty emotional conversation to have with someone, to be honest. Especially a close mate.
"It was a hard moment and hard pill to swallow that he wouldn't be continuing at our footy club for the time being.
"For him to say he was retiring, and he's only 28, he's so young, it’s not because of injury it's because of personal choice.
"He's passionate about football and to see him and hear his voice, he was really sad."
Carlton defender Liam Jones announced his retirementin November, in a decision that was understood to be related to the AFL's COVID-19 vaccination policy, while West Coast forward Jack Darling has been training away from the club since last Friday after also failing to meet the requirements of the policy.