Shohei Ohtani

ESPN2 aired Shohei Ohtani’s live press conference Monday as he addressed the gambling scandal involving his longtime interpreter, but the network simultaneously showed something else that raised the eyebrows of many viewers.

The Los Angeles Dodgers superstar claims his close friend and interpreter, Ippei Mizuhara, stole millions from him and lied to him. The Dodgers fired Mizuhara after reports by ESPN and the Los Angeles Times alleged he ran up illegal gambling debts of more than $1 million.

Ohtani sat with Will Ireton, the Dodgers’ manager of performance operations, who translated.

“I am very saddened and shocked someone whom I trusted has done this,” Ohtani said. “Ippei has been stealing money from my account and has been telling lies. I never bet on sports or have willfully sent money to the bookmaker.”

Ohtani spoke for about 12 minutes and did not take any questions from the room full of reporters. While there were no real surprises during the event, some ESPN2 viewers found it almost surreal that, as the star addressed the gambling scandal, the network ran a ticker at the bottom of the screen displaying sports betting info for various sports.

Shohei Ohtani


MLB announced Friday it is investigating the situation, and the IRS is conducting its own probe. The scandal comes just three months after Ohtani signed an historic 10-year, $700 million contract.

Many in sports media have been predicting a major sports betting scandal is imminent, whether involving players, a referee or even sports reporters. In fact, ESPN reported Monday that the NBA is investigating Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter for betting irregularities in recent months.

At the same time, networks are raking in millions in advertising and partnerships with companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel. So perhaps situations like what happened with the ESPN2 ticker during Ohtani’s press conference are inevitable. Still, many fans thought the situation had a weird feel and underlined the hypocrisy some see in the attitude toward athletes and gambling.

[@awful announcing]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.