A former sports reporter who covered the Texas Rangers wrote in an essay published Sunday that she was raped by an MLB player in 2002.
Kat O’Brien wrote about the alleged attack in an essay for the New York Times headlined “I am breaking my silence about the baseball player who raped me.” O’Brien declined to name her alleged attacker but clarified that he was not a member of the Rangers.
O’Brien described the attack as taking place in a hotel room during an interview for a story. She was 22 years old at the time and writing for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
(Warning: The text below describes an incident of sexual assault)
“I spent the 2002 MLB season working on a significant story about foreign-born players and how they navigate life in the United States,” O’Brien wrote. “It was nearly two decades ago, but I remember how much work went into it, the prominent play it received, and how proud of it I was. Looking back, I now wonder how I managed to finish it.
“I sat down in a hotel room with my interview subject. We spoke for a few minutes as I asked some questions and he answered. Then he moved suddenly to kiss me. I said, no, no, I don’t want that, but he pushed me over to the bed. I tried to shove him. I said no, stop, no, stop, over and over. He pushed further, getting on top of me, pulling off my skirt, and having sex with me against my will.”
O’Brien declined to name the player in order to avoid “the possibility of having dirt thrown on my reputation” while citing a desire to “help bring about systemic change rather than seek unlikely-to-come justice for one horrible act.”
O’Brien wrote that she didn’t tell anybody about the assault for 18 years, blamed herself for it and lived in fear of the story going public.
She wrote that she was motivated to tell her story after reading about ex-New York Mets general manager Jared Porter’s firing for sexual harassment of a female reporter. Porter admitted in January to sending sexually explicit texts to a reporter when he worked in the Chicago Cubs front office in 2016. The Mets fired him the next day, weeks after his Dec. 13 hiring.
“I had experienced the worst kind of assault, yet a quieter, still uncomfortable strain of harassment persists for women journalists working in sports locker rooms, and women who work in other rooms dominated by men,” O’Brien wrote.
O’Brien wrote that she avoided work that would have forced her to cross paths with her alleged attacker, who continued to play in MLB. She feared that the player had told his teammates about the attack while explaining that the player came from a visiting clubhouse.
“Soon after the assault, I was back at the ballpark in Arlington, in the visiting team’s clubhouse,” O’Brien wrote. “An All-Star player stared at me, saying my name and the name of his teammate, the man who had raped me.
“Suddenly I realized he must have told people, making himself out to be a stud and me some girl who was there to pick up ball players instead of do my job. I felt humiliated and ashamed. The player who had raped me never said another word to me.”
O’Brien wrote that she continued to work covering the Rangers and was eventually promoted to lead beat writer at the Star-Telegram. But she struggled in her personal life and didn’t date for four years after the attack. She has since left sports journalism and no longer fears the impact telling her story will have on her career.
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