RedState Sports Report: Shohei Ohtani’s Interpreter Fired Following Gambling Revelations


Greetings from the sports desk located somewhere below decks of the Good Pirate Ship RedState. As you can tell, Sammy the Shark and Karl the Kraken are working far too hard tonight to help write anything, so it’s lil’ ol’ me again.

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Did you know the Major League Baseball season is already underway? It’s true, with the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers playing two games in Seoul, South Korea, on March 20 and 21 that count in the standings. After the first game, the Dodgers sit alone atop the National League West following a 5-3 win in which newly acquired Shohei Ohtani collected two singles and an RBI. Unfortunately, Ohtani has now collected more attention than even the highest profile player in the game can desire, and not of the good kind.

Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, has been fired by the Dodgers amid an investigation into wire transfers of some $4.5M of Ohtani’s money to a sports bookie. All indications are that Ohtani himself never bet on any sporting events. Everything else is a mystery and jumble of contradictory stories.

Initially, a spokesman for Ohtani told ESPN the slugger had transferred the funds to cover Mizuhara’s gambling debt. The spokesman presented Mizuhara to ESPN for a 90-minute interview Tuesday night, during which Mizuhara laid out his account in great detail. However, as ESPN prepared to publish the story Wednesday, the spokesman disavowed Mizuhara’s account and said Ohtani’s lawyers would issue a statement.

“In the course of responding to recent media inquiries, we discovered that Shohei has been the victim of a massive theft, and we are turning the matter over to the authorities,” read the statement from Berk Brettler LLP.

Mizuhara’s original statement was that he incurred the debt via betting on sports other than baseball with bookie Mathew Bowyer. Bowyer, who runs his operation in Southern California despite sports betting being illegal in California, has stated through his lawyer that he has neither met nor done any business with Ohtani.

Returning to Mizuhara’s original statement, he asserted in a March 19 interview that he asked Ohtani to pay off his gambling debt as a one-time favor, which Ohtani did despite his displeasure with Mizuhara. On March 20, Mizuhara contradicted his words from the day before, stating that Ohtani did not know about Mizuhara’s debt and that Ohtani had not wired any money on his behalf to Bowyer.

To say the situation is a mess is an understatement of Herculean proportions. Either Mizuhara has lied about Ohtani agreeing to pay off his gambling debt, or he is lying regarding saying his first statement was a lie. Ohtani himself has made no public comment on the matter. Major League Baseball and the Dodgers are in full “don’t ask us — we don’t know what’s going on either” mode. The only irrefutable facts are side notes. One, it is surprising that in a sports betting-happy world, California, of all places, is missing out on something to tax by not allowing it to take place. Two, Ohtani has primarily lived in the United States since 2018. And he still needs an interpreter? It is odd, but not nearly as odd as this story, which doubtless has many developments yet to come.



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