Shohei Ohtani Press Conferece: Full Transcript Of Dodgers Star Addressing Ippei Mizuhara’s Sports Betting

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Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Dodgers have been shrouded in controversy since the Seoul Series began, as their win on Opening Day became an afterthought amid revelations of former interpreter Ippei Mizuhara participating in illegal sports betting.

Beyond Mizuhara being a close friend of Ohtani’s and his interpreter since the 2018 season, the two-way star found was intertwined in the scandal because his name was on a bank account used to pay Southern California bookmaker Mathew Bowyer, who is under federal investigation.

Nearly one week since Mizuhara’s sports betting became public knowledge, Ohtani addressed the situation Monday in his first public comments. Ohtani’s press conference at Dodger Stadium comprised of reading from a prepared statement of accounts, which were interpreted by Will Ireton.

Ohtani emphatically stated he has never bet on any sport and accused Mizuhara of theft and being deceitful. Ohtani did not answer questions at the conclusion of his press conference.

Full transcript from Shohei Ohtani press conference

Opening statement

“First of all, thank you very much for coming. It’s been a tough week for fans and team officials, and I’m very grateful the media has been patient in this process. On a personal note, I’m very saddened and shocked that someone who I trusted has done this.”

“Obviously, today there are things that I am 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.”

Ohtani denies betting

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

Ippei Mizuhara lying?

“Up until a couple days ago, I didn’t know that this was happening. Just to go over the result, in conclusion, Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies.”

“Last weekend in Korea, media reached out to a representative in my camp, inquiring about my potential involvement in sports betting. Ippei never revealed to me that there was this media inquiry, and Ippei told the media and my representatives, I, on behalf of a friend, paid off debt.”

“Upon further questioning, it was revealed it was Ippei who was in debt. He told my representatives that I was paying off his debt. All of this has been a complete lie. So Ippei has been telling everybody around that Ippei has been communicating with me about all of this with my account, and that hasn’t been true.”

Ohtani first finds out about interpreter’s betting

“The first time I knew about Ippei’s gambling was after the first game, when we had the team meeting in the clubhouse. So during the team meeting, obviously Ippei was speaking 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-on-one in the hotel after the meeting.’ So I waited until then. So up until that team meeting, I didn’t know Ippei had a gambling addiction and was in debt. And 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 was when I found out that he had massive debt.

“And it was during that meeting that Ippei admitted that he was sending money — using my account — to the bookmaker. 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 lawyers at that moment found out they also had been lied to. My lawyers recommended since this theft and fraud, we have the proper authorities handle this matter.”

Ohtani cooperating with gambling investigations

“In conclusion, I do want to make it clear I have never bet on sports or willfully sent money to the bookmaker. To summarize how I’m feeling right now, I’m 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.

Focused on Dodgers’ 2024 season

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

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