The American Massage Therapy Association will hold its annual conference at the Huntington Convention Center in Cleveland later this month.
The Evanston, Illinois-based organization, the largest nonprofit professional association for massage therapists, will arrive only weeks after Sue Robinson handed down a six-game suspension to Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for sexual misconduct with massage therapists, which the league on Wednesday appealed..
The organization will be staying at the Hilton Downtown Hotel and hosting exhibitions and forums at the convention center Aug 25-27. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is the marquee keynote speaker.
In addition to continuing education and other member benefits, AMTA, as an organization, advocates "for the issues important to massage therapists" across the country, including state and federal policies and fair licensing. But the organization has also spoken out against Deshaun Watson and the NFL.
Just this Tuesday, the day after Robinson's decision, AMTA released a statement condemning the lenient punishment for Watson.
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.
One suspects the Watson case might be a hot topic at the evening receptions and even during the formal education modules.
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