Disgraced former NBA ref Tim Donaghy: Shohei Ohtani ‘absolutely’ knew about interpreter’s gambling addiction

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As Ippei Mizuhara, the previous interpreter of Los Angeles Dodgers celebrity Shohei Ohtani, is coping with the authorized issues of his playing scandal, many nonetheless query how a lot the two-way baseball participant knew about it at the start blew up within the public eye. 

Earlier than the 2024 common season started, Ohtani held a press convention, throughout which no media was allowed to ask questions and he mentioned he has “by no means” guess on sports activities and Mizuhara’s declare that Ohtani was voluntarily paying off his huge playing debt was a “full lie.”

Nevertheless, disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who went to jail after admitting he guess on video games he officiated in lots of seasons within the early 2000s, isn’t shopping for that Ohtani had no clue about Mizuhara’s playing habit. 


Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers speaks to the media at Dodger Stadium on December 14, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.  (Meg Oliphant/Getty Photographs)

Donaghy made an look on OutKick’s “Hot Mic,” when he was requested if there’s any approach Ohtani didn’t know. 

“Heck no,” he responded. “I feel Main League Baseball was good to brush this beneath the rug as rapidly as attainable. You have a look at that man and what he’s carried out for baseball globally and the followers he’s attracted all over the world, the very last thing they need is for him to be someone who’s concerned in betting on his personal video games and possibly doing issues that he wasn’t alleged to do. 

“I feel they have been very good to get that beneath the rug as rapidly as attainable and say that he had nothing to do with it, and mainly have this different man take the autumn for every little thing.”


Donaghy additionally doesn’t consider Mizuhara by no means guess on baseball, contemplating investigators discovered he positioned about 19,000 bets between December 2021 and January 2024, which comes out to about 25 per day. 

Mizuhara guess a mean $12,800 per guess, with ranges between $10 and $160,000. 

Ippei Mizuhara looks up

Japanese interpreter Ippei Mizuhara attends a press convention at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California on December 14, 2023. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP through Getty Photographs)

“I feel completely,” Donaghy mentioned when requested if he believed Mizuhara guess on baseball. “Once you have a look at the quantity of bets he was putting, clearly he had some kind of habit. It’s not like he might simply flip it off when he had baseball seasons. There’s little doubt in my thoughts that he not solely guess on baseball, he guess on Ohtani’s sport, and I feel Ohtani was proper there with him figuring out what he was doing.”

MLB and Ohtani’s agent, Nez Balelo, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark relating to Donaghy’s assertion. 

Donaghy isn’t the one one who believes Ohtani performed a component on this. Pete Rose, MLB’s all-time hits leader who additionally has an notorious playing previous, made an eye-popping remark when the scandal first got here to gentle. 

“Properly, again within the ‘70s and ‘80s, I want I’d have had an interpreter. I’d be scot-free,” Rose mentioned in a video posted to social media simply days after issues broke. 

Mizuhara is anticipated to plead responsible to at least one rely of financial institution fraud and one rely of subscribing to a false tax return per the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace for the Central District of California. He’s more likely to enter the plea in some unspecified time in the future within the subsequent few weeks. 

Ohtani with interpreter

Shohei Ohtani, proper, of the Los Angeles Dodgers speaks to the media with the assistance of his interpreter Ippei Mizuhara throughout DodgerFest a celebration of the upcoming season with dwell leisure, behind-the-scenes experiences, meals, drinks and assembly the most recent Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 3, 2024.  (Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-Information through Getty Photographs)

“The extent of this defendant’s deception and theft is very large,” U.S. Legal professional Martin Estrada mentioned in an announcement. “He took benefit of his place of belief to benefit from Mr. Ohtani and gas a harmful playing behavior. My workplace is dedicated to vindicating victims all through our neighborhood and guaranteeing that wrongdoers face justice.”

Estrada added that Mizuhara grew to become Ohtani’s “de facto supervisor” due to how prevalent he was in his life. His function in Ohtani’s life led him to have entry to his financial institution accounts, being able to withdraw cash to finance his playing habits. 

Throughout an investigation, federal authorities discovered Mizuhara stole an estimated $17 million, which he might be required to pay Ohtani again as a situation of the plea settlement. 

“I by no means guess on baseball or some other sports activities or by no means have requested someone to try this on my behalf,” Ohtani mentioned via a brand new interpreter previous to the Dodgers’ ultimate spring coaching sport. “And by no means went via a bookmaker to guess on sports activities.

Shohei Ohtani and Tim Donaghy side by side

Disgraced former NBA ref Tim Donaghy believes there is not any approach Shohei Ohtani did not find out about Ippei Mizuhara’s playing scandal.  (Getty Photographs)


“I’m very saddened and shocked that somebody who I trusted has carried out this.”

Ohtani is the highest-paid participant in MLB after agreeing to a historic 10-year, $700 million contract in free company to affix the Dodgers. 

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