Essendon captain Jobe Watson says only the end of the WADA appeal will give him and his AFL teammates the relief they need.
Watson said he felt great sadness at coach James Hird leaving the club.
Hird and Bombers chairman Paul Little said the main reason for the decision was so the players could have some space from the ongoing supplements scandal.
“We won’t be able to put it behind us until it’s over, no,” Watson said.
“What he’s done is try to make it as easy as possible for the players and the fans and the football club to try and move forward and get some of that space.
“But … I don’t think the players can have complete space until it’s over.”
WADA is appealing against the AFL anti-doping tribunal verdict in favour of 34 past and present Essendon players.
“James touched on it before, but this whole thing has changed people and no-one’s for the better because of it,” Watson said of the supplements saga.
Watson insists it is up to the players and the club to deal with the saga as best they can.
“Yesterday he (Hird) talked about dealing with that adversity and about what you can actually do – and whether it or not it will define you,” Watson said.
“Will it define the rest of my career or define the rest of the players’ careers who were a part of it?
“Will it define this football club for a long period of time or will the club find a way to move forward?”
And Watson said no-one had faced more adversity through the saga than Hird.
“He’s had to deal with the kind of scrutiny above and beyond anyone else and he deserves some space,” he said.
“His family deserves some space.”
Watson was asked if he felt any resentment towards Hird for what had happened at Essendon.
“I don’t feel resentment – I just feel sad,” he said.