It seems too bizarre to be true, but it is.
The American Massage Therapy Association’s annual national convention is being held right down the road from where the Cleveland Browns play football.
Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson currently faces a six-game suspension related to sexual misconduct allegations from over two dozen massage therapists.
Earlier this week arbitrator Sue. L. Robinson handed down a six-game suspension.
The league has appealed that decision, with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell appointing former New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey to hear the Watson appeal.
The league would like Watson to face a harsher punishment, ultimately an indefinite suspension
Robinson mentioned the NFL’s woeful track record of disciplining players for alleged sexual assault — particularly “non-violent sexual assault” — as justification for Watson’s six-game ban, even though she called his conduct “more egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL.”
The 26-year-old was not charged after two separate Houston-area grand juries declined to indict him following criminal investigations. He has settled 23 civil lawsuits, including several in recent days, reportedly leaving one outstanding civil case.
Multiple plaintiffs accused Watson of ejaculating during their therapy sessions and one plaintiff accused Watson of forcing her to perform oral sex.
The Houston Texans traded Watson to the Browns for six draft picks. Cleveland also guaranteed him $230 million over five-years.
The therapist convention will be held August 25-27.
The AMTA released a statement after news of the suspension broke.
"AMTA strongly believes that any client who steps over the line to inappropriate touch should face the legal consequences," it said in part of its statement. "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."
Deshaun Watson will likely be a topic during the convention later this month.