Shohei Ohtani Denies Ever Betting On Sports In Press Conference, But More Than A Few Things Don’t Add Up

Shohei Ohtani
Los Angeles Dodgers

My initial take on the Shohei Ohtani controversy was that he has so much money — both from endorsements and his (albeit largely deferred) $700 million contract — that he wouldn’t even consider going through his interpreter and alleged friend to illegally bet on sports.

However, at Monday’s press conference to address the matter publicly, Ohtani took the route of deny, deny, deny, and declared his interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, to be an unmitigated liar.

His full statement:

ESPN’s bombshell report from last week stated that a spokesman for Ohtani gave a story that directly contradicts what Ohtani just said at the podium. Right before ESPN was to initially publish their report, the spokesman went from originally saying that Ohtani had “transferred the funds to cover Mizuhara’s gambling debt” — a sum of at least $4.5 million — to about facing and saying that Ohtani was a victim of “massive theft.”


Here’s another astute observation here from my buddy Hubbs that further highlights the inconsistencies in Ohtani’s own story:

Ohtani admits to sending “several large payments.” That testimony can be found here in ESPN’s full timeline of events.

Now I don’t claim to know anything about who Shohei Ohtani is as a person. All I know is, there’s so much money at stake when it comes to anything about his baseball future that MLB has absolutely zero incentive to carry out an incisive investigation, or to expose him in any way. I’m also not saying Ohtani is 100% guilty of being a degenerate gambler. Don’t freak out. But I think it’s worth questioning someone a little further when there are such serious, obvious discrepancies in how a story is being painted.

How about this from Ohtani’s ex-Angels teammate Mike Trout from all the way back in 2021, where he suggests that Ohtani is good enough at English to not even need an interpreter.

And hey look, Ohtani might’ve just wanted a buddy around to help him acclimate to moving to the U.S., where he’s met and even exceeded the burdensome expectations placed upon him that he’d be the next Babe Ruth. Maybe he figures an interpreter keeps him at a distance from the glaring spotlight. On the other hand, he moved from the Angels to the Dodgers for the express purpose of raising his profile and brand by competing for and winning multiple World Series. Might as well get used to all the attention and embrace it.

Except this is far from the kind of attention Ohtani would ever want. This is a waking nightmare. And he’d better provide some more convincing answers fast before investigators start prodding harder and asking more pressing questions. Who knows how deep the rabbit hole goes!

So I’ve named exactly three (a few) things that don’t add up. How about we take into account some of what Ohtani didn’t say at his presser?

Not saying. Just saying.

Chances are, all this blows eventually over and Ohtani puts the scandal to bed without so much as a slap on the wrist. Nevertheless, it’s on the table that there is something far larger at play here, thanks in no small part to how sketchily Ohtani and his team have handled themselves to this point.

At least Ohtani would be hard-pressed to top Pete Rose’s betting scandal no matter how this plays out.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock