Sports personality Steven A Smith believes more may be at play involving the case surrounding Shohei OhtaniSports personality Steven A Smith believes more may be at play involving the case surrounding Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter Ippei Mizuhara

On March 20, news came that Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, had been fired by the Los Angeles Dodgers. The move came after shocking revelations that $4.5 million in funds had been sent from an account belonging to Ohtani to a bookmaking operation based in Southern California.

Immediately, alarm bells started to ring. Due to the regulation that strictly prohibits MLB players from betting on or against themselves, Ohtani’s reputation soon came under crossfire. When the bombshell was reported upon, a spokesperson for Ohtani claimed that the funds were transferred to cover Mizuhara’s gambling debts.

“Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter was fired after reports of him stealing 4.5 million dollars” – MLB stat Muse
Though it is unclear if Ippei Mizuhara’s relationship with the bookmaker broke any laws, gambling is illegal in most circumstances under California law. A longtime personal fiend of Ohtani, some are already beginning to believe that the 39-year old could have been a vehicle for Ohtani to himself, gamble.

To make matters even more complex, Ohtani’s lawyers, Berk Brettler LLP, subsequently came out with an account alledging that the 2022 AL MVP had “been the victim of a massive theft.”

Due to the opaque nature of the story, as well as the ostensibly fluid storyline, pundits aplenty are drawing conclusions of their own. On a recent edition of his show, analyst Steven A. Smith discounted Mizuhara’s role, and claimed that the focus was on the Los Angeles Dodgers star:
“This is about whether or not Shohei Ohtani gambled on baseball. Cut the BS. We don’t give a da*m about the interpreter. The interpreter no longer works for the Los Angeles Dodgers”
Betting on baseball is strictly off limits for MLB players, as is evidenced by Cincinnati Reds legend Pete Rose’s lifetime ban from the sport on account of his habit. However, with Mizuhara maintaining that his bets were not placed on baseball, his relationship with Matthew Bowyer, an alledged middle man who helped Mizuhara circumvent California State gambling law, may be the most crucial part of the investigation going forward.

Interpreter controversy threatens to overshadow Shohei Ohtani’s Dodgers homecoming

Just as the Dodgers wrap up their two-game South Korea Series against the San Diego Padres, Ohtani’s personal brand has taken a rare hit. In his comments to ESPN, Mizuhara took complete responsibility for his actions, claiming:
“Obviously, this is all my fault, everything I’ve done. I’m ready to face all the consequences.”
Contrite as Mizuhara’s words may sound, the world will soon find out whether or not Shohei Ohtani fell victim to the actions of a sporadic employee, or if there is, indeed, more to recover.