Major League Baseball is investigating one of its star players after he was accused of assaulting a photographer, grabbing her and trying to kiss her without consent.
Betsy Bissen alleges that Miguel Sano, a third-baseman for the Minnesota Twins, attempted to drag her into the toilets of a shop where he was appearing at an autograph signing session.
“I pulled back as he held onto my wrist,” she wrote, in a note published to Twitter on Thursday. “It hurt, how badly he was grasping at my wrist but he wouldn’t let go. I wasn’t going to give up my fight though.
“He then leaned down and tried to kiss me, more than once. Every time he did, I said no and kept pulling back. I was in a squatted position with my wrist throbbing. I screamed, no one came to help me.”
— Betsy (@BitzyBetsy) December 28, 2017
Sano has refuted the allegations. “I unequivocally deny the allegation made against me today – it never happened,” he said in a statement. “I have the utmost respect for women, especially those working in professional sports, and I deeply sympathise with anyone who has experienced sexual harassment. There is no place for it in our society.”
Sano is a rising star in MLB, having entered the league as a designated hitter, the Dominican came third in the American League’s rookie of the year race and this year came second in the Home Run Derby.
24-year-old Sano has also faced controversy over his age, in 2009, when he claimed to be 16 despite reports in the Dominican Republic that he was older. The MLB investigation could not definitively prove his age.
But it did not stop the Twins handing Sano one of the biggest-ever contracts for a Latin American player not from Cuba.
Molly Knight, a prominent baseball writer, commented on Bissen’s allegations: “I’ve been waiting for the #metoo movement to work its way into professional sports. Because when it does it’s going to be ugly.”
The Minnesota Twins released a statement which said they were aware of the situation. “The Twins, along with Major League Baseball, take these allegations very seriously. Until more information is gathered, the Twins will have no further comment.”