Massage therapy convention coming to Cleveland as Deshaun Watson remains in spotlight

Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson(AP)
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 1:07 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The American Massage Therapy Association is set to have its annual convention this month in Cleveland.

The event will arrive just weeks after Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson received a six-game suspension for alleged sexual misconduct.

Watson, who denies wrongdoing, has settled 23 of 24 lawsuits filed by massage therapists who claim he acted inappropriately during sessions.

The convention is happening from Aug. 25 to Aug. 27 at the Huntington Convention Center on Lakeside Avenue.

Education options listed on the event website include lessons in sports massage, therapist/client relationships and more.

On Tuesday, the American Massage Therapy Association released a statement reaffirming its commitment to safety:

“Massage therapists should never have to tolerate conduct outside the bounds of therapeutic massage therapy within a massage session. AMTA strongly believes that any client who steps over the line to inappropriate touch should face the legal consequences. And it’s disappointing to see such a relatively light punishment from the NFL levied toward Deshaun Watson in their findings of his violation of the league’s personal-conduct policy.

If the NFL is concerned about professionalism and upholding high standards in the league, creating a safe workplace for all members of athletes’ care teams should be a priority. We hope the league is taking measures to ensure that the massage therapists on the Browns’ personnel and throughout the NFL, as well as those supporting individual athletes, are able to work in a safe and professional environment.

The alleged behavior, and the language used by the legal team and others involved in this case put professional, licensed massage therapists at risk by condoning inappropriate conduct in a massage environment.”

Watson’s suspension was recommended by former judge Sue Robinson, a disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA.

The NFL filed an appeal Wednesday, and the Associated Press reports the league is “seeking an indefinite suspension of at least one year plus a fine.”

Watson and the NFLPA have until end of business Friday to submit a formal response to the appeal.

Two separate grand juries in Harris County, Texas previously declined to indict Watson on criminal charges.

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