Shohei Ohtani says he’s never bet on sports, accuses Ippei Mizuhara of lying and theft

A few days ago, we were attempting to process the shocking and sudden mess involving Shohei Ohtani and his now-former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara. We also weren’t left with much of an explanation directly from him either, as he has avoided talking to the media since the story broke. However, today he gathered the press and read a prepared statement addressing the controversy, in which Ohtani denies betting on sports and says Mizuhara lied to him and stole money.


First of all, thank you very much for coming. I wanted to be here today to be able to talk. I’m sure it was very tough — it’s been a tough week for fans and team officials, and I’m very grateful that the media has been patient in this process. Just on a personal note, I’m very saddened and shocked that someone who I trusted has done this.

Obviously today there’s things that I’m limited in being able to talk about. I hope you understand. I do have a document in front of me that I will refer to that will detail what has happened.

So, I never bet on baseball or any other sports or never have asked somebody to do that on my behalf. And I have never went through a bookmaker to bet on sports.

Up until a couple of days ago, I didn’t know that this was happening.

Just to kind of go over the result, in conclusion, Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies.

Last weekend in Korea, media had reached out to a representative in my camp inquiring about my potential involvement in sports betting.

So, Ippei never revealed to me that there was this media inquiry, and to the representatives in my camp he told, Ippei told, to the media and to my representatives that I, on behalf of a friend, paid off debt. Upon further questioning, it was revealed that it was actually, in fact, Ippei who was in debt. And told my representatives that I was paying off those debts. All of this has been a complete lie. So, Ippei obviously lied about — basically didn’t tell me about the media inquiry. So Ippei has been telling everybody around that Ippei has been communicating with Shohei on all of this account — to my representatives, to the team — and that hasn’t been true.

The first time I knew about this gambling, Ippei’s gambling, was after the first game (in Korea) when we had the team meeting in the clubhouse. So during the team meeting, obviously, Ippei was speaking in English and I didn’t have a translator on my side. But even with that, I kind of understood what was going on and started to feel that there was something amiss. Prior to the meeting, I was told by Ippei, ‘Hey, let’s talk one-to-one in the hotel after the meeting.’ So, I waited until then. Up until that team meeting, I didn’t know that Ippei had a gambling addiction and was in debt. Obviously at that point, or, obviously I never agreed to pay off the debt or make payments to the bookmaker. And finally, when we went back to the hotel and talked one-to-one, that’s when I found out that he had a massive debt. And it was revealed to me during that meeting that Ippei admitted that he was sending money, using my account, to the bookmaker. And at that moment, obviously it was an absurd thing that was happening and I contacted my representatives at that point. So, when I was finally able to talk to my representatives, that’s when my representatives found out that Ippei has been lying the whole time, and that’s when I started contacting the Dodgers and my lawyers. And the Dodgers and the lawyers at that moment found out also as well that they have been lied to. And my lawyers recommended that since this is theft and fraud that we have the proper authorities handle this matter. So, in conclusion, I do want to make it clear that I never bet on sports or have willfully sent money to the bookmaker.

To summarize how I’m feeling right now, I’m just beyond shocked. It’s really hard to verbalize how I am feeling at this point. The season is going to start so I’m going to obviously let my lawyers handle matters from here on out, and I am completely assisting in all investigations that are taking place right now.

I’m looking forward to focusing on the season. I’m glad that we had this opportunity to talk, and I’m sure there will be continuing investigations moving forward. Thank you very much.


The statement was broadcast on MLB Network and SportsNet LA.

Given the certainty of some people that Ohtani was involved in something nefarious, I doubt this planned statement without taking questions would win them over to his side. Then again, I also doubt really anything he could say at the moment would either. But the purpose this did serve is Ohtani drawing a clear line in the sand about what he claims happened.

We shall see what the response from Ippei’s side is, if there’s any at all.

Regardless, sticking with what Brim wrote days ago is still probably the best approach. As Dodger fans, we’re obviously hoping for the best and that Ohtani’s telling the truth, but we mostly still have to wait for the investigations to be done since there’s a lot going on that we’re not privy to.

Still, if this is really what happened, then I think most people have gotten caught up in the dramatic hoopla of it all while overlooking the personal side of it and the impact that has.

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