Mar 25, 2024 - Sports

Shohei Ohtani says he never engaged in sports betting

A view of a TV in the press box as Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers speaks during a press conference at Dodger Stadium on March 25, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

ATV in the press box as Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Dodgers speaks during a press conference at Dodger Stadium on March 25, 2024 in Los Angeles, Califo rnia. Photo: Michael Owens/Getty Images

Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani said Monday that he's "very saddened and shocked" about his interpreter's alleged theft in his first public remarks on the accusations.

The big picture: Ippei Mizuhara, the interpreter who has been alongside Ohtani since his Major League Baseball debut in 2018, was fired by the Dogers last week after being accused of using funds from the player's bank account to cover gambling debts incurred with an illegal bookmaker.

Zoom in: Ohtani said in prepared remarks in front of media Monday that he did not do any sports betting and nor did he ask anyone to do it for him.

  • "Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has told lies," he said in Japanese through a different interpreter.
  • "Up until a couple days ago, I didn't know that this was happening," Ohtani said, denying that he was asked to bail Ippei out.

Worth noting: MLB employees are prohibited from gambling on any of the league's games.

The other side: Mizuhara told ESPN last week that Ohtani settled his gambling debts at the interpreter's request. But Mizuhara later retracted that and said Ohtani didn't know about his gambling, debts or repayment efforts.

  • "Obviously, this is all my fault, everything I've done," Mizuhara said per ESPN. "I'm ready to face all the consequences."

Go deeper: Ohtani's big bet on inflation and the U.S. dollar

Go deeper