The six-game suspension handed to Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson includes an apparently unprecedented condition: Watson can only get massages from therapists on the Browns’ staff.
That mandate from Judge Sue L. Robinson means that Watson can’t hire his own therapists, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Watson is accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with female massage therapists he hired.
All kinds of questions will come from this particular part of Robinson’s decision. The first is whether the discipline officer even has the authority to make such a ruling. Restricting a player from getting the treatment for an injury that he thinks is best is far beyond the typical scope of player discipline, which typically is limited to fines and suspensions.
It’s also hard to understand how such a ruling would be enforced. If Watson pulls a hamstring while working out on his own and asks his personal trainer to massage it, how would the NFL know about it, and what would the NFL do about it?
Robinson clearly wants to warn Watson not to get himself into the same kid of trouble that caused his six-game suspension. A suspension alone should have been enough to send that message.