A former Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports reporter revealed in an essay Sunday in The New York Times that an MLB player raped her in 2002 at an area hotel as she interviewed him for a story.
Kat O’Brien, who worked for the Star-Telegram beginning in 2001 and was the lead Texas Rangers beat writer in 2006, did not identify the player, but said the assault happened in a Metroplex hotel room where she had met the player to report on a story about the obstacles foreign-born players face in the United States.
“I sat down in a hotel room with my interview subject,” she wrote. “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.”
I wrote an achingly personal piece that the @nytimes published today on being raped by an @mlb player while I was a sports reporter, and as importantly, on the corrosive atmosphere of sexual harassment that female sports journalists face daily.https://t.co/TylQ0mduNt 1/
— Kat O'Brien (@OBrien_Kat) June 20, 2021
O’Brien said that she didn’t tell anyone in baseball about the assault, nor did she tell her family, best friends or coworkers, for fear that it would ruin her career. She was 22 at the time and was only a year out of college.
The player who allegedly assaulted her never spoke to her again, she said, but she suspects that he told other MLB players. O’Brien said she declined opportunities to work for other newspapers in the city where the player was playing.
O’Brien later covered the New York Yankees for Newsday from 2007-2010 before leaving the industry. But the pain from her experience returned earlier this year when former New York Mets general manager Jared Porter was accused of sexually harassing a female reporter in 2016 while working for the Chicago Cubs.
“Why talk about this now? Since mid-January I’ve had nightmares,” she wrote. “For weeks, I was crying off and on every day. My chest pounds in fight or flight. I’ve had to stop in the middle of a run because I hyperventilate as memories rush back.”
In telling her story, O’Brien said she wanted to “put my voice to a movement that needs all the voices it can get.
“I wish things had changed dramatically in the last decade, but the stories of harassment and mistreatment that have emerged recently suggest otherwise. What I feared losing before — my job in sports journalism — is long gone. But I have found my voice.”