Essendon midfielder Jobe Watson’s 2012 Brownlow Medal should stand, even if he is found guilty of doping, says the club’s new chairman, Lindsay Tanner.
A verdict is expected this month from the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the Bombers’ appeal against the World Anti-Doping Agency’s drug charges.
If the Bombers are to lose their appeal, Watson and 11 other players could spend up to two seasons on the sideline suspended for their involvement in the 2012 supplements program, however heavily reduced sentences would be likely.
However the former federal finance minister says Watson should keep his place in history, regardless of whether the 200-game veteran, and the rest of the players, were found guilty.
“In my view, the responsibility for all of these issues lies with the club, not the individual players,” Tanner told News Corp Australia.
Tanner was appointed as the club’s new chairman on Monday night, and he paid homage to the resilience of the Essendon club throughout the doping saga.
He also suggested a number of former staffers, including coach James Hird, chairman David Evans and chief executive Ian Robson, could be welcomed back to the club.
“People who try to single out individuals and heap blame on them or argue the toss about who should have done what, miss the point that this was an organisational problem,” Tanner said.
“Obviously (James) has other things in his life that he will want to do, but I think that it’s very important that in due course, at a time that works for him, he’s back front and centre at Essendon.”