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Shohei Ohtani, the star player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, is at the center of a scandal involving his former translator, Ippei Mizuhara, and an illegal gambling operation run by bookmaker Mathew Bowyer in Orange County, CA. Mizuhara has admitted to being $4.5 million in gambling debt, with Ohtani inadvertently helping to pay it off. The news has created shockwaves in the sports world due to Major League Baseball’s strict rules against gambling, dating back to the 1919 White Sox scandal. The outcomes for Ohtani are dependent on the results of federal, IRS, and MLB investigations.

Rule 21 of MLB lays out the consequences for players involved in gambling activities, stating that disciplinary actions can be taken against players found to be involved in illegal gambling activities. Ohtani recently held a press conference where he denied any involvement in betting on sports, including baseball, or knowingly helping to pay off Mizuhara’s debt. If Ohtani is found to be a victim of theft in the investigations, he would not face any penalties and may become a more sympathetic figure in the eyes of fans and the league.

If the investigations reveal that Ohtani wagered on sports other than baseball through Mizuhara, commissioner Rob Manfred has the discretion to impose fines as penalties. This scenario has precedence, with a previous case involving Miami Marlins’ pitcher Jarred Cosart. However, if Ohtani is found to have worked directly for an illegal bookmaker or bet on baseball games, including those in which he participated, more severe penalties, such as suspension or ineligibility, could be imposed.

The potential impact of the scandal on Ohtani’s brand as a superstar athlete with lucrative sponsorship deals is a concern. If Ohtani is proven to be a victim of a crime, his brand may remain intact. However, if he is found to have paid off gambling debts, it could affect his image and future sponsorship agreements. The worst-case scenario of Ohtani betting on baseball games could lead to significant repercussions, including being declared permanently ineligible to play in the league, similar to the cases of Pete Rose and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.

As the investigations into the scandal involving Ohtani and Mizuhara unfold, the sports world is watching closely to see how the situation will impact the star player’s career and reputation. Ohtani’s statements denying any involvement in illegal gambling activities will be critical in determining the consequences he may face under MLB’s rules. The outcome of the investigations will have a significant impact on Ohtani’s future in the league and his standing as a brand ambassador for various sponsorships. Until more information is revealed, Ohtani continues to focus on his performance on the field and the ongoing MLB season.

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