Shohei Ohtani and MLB were affected by FTX’s relationships

This should be a banner week for Shuhei Ohtania truly global baseball superstar.

This is the week that the MLS Most Valuable Player and Cy Young Awards are announced; Ohtani finished fourth in Cy Young voting and He is a finalist for MVP. Thursday, Otani declared that he will participate in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, by joining Angels colleague Mike Trout As high-profile participants in an event that far too many of previous years baseball’s best players have skipped.

Sadly, this is also the week that Ohtani was named as the defendant, one of the eight superstars who sued them in a class action. Lawsuit against FTXwhich is a now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange.

The lawsuit alleges that FTX needs Ohtani and other accused celebrities — including Tom BradyAnd the Stephen CurryAnd the Naomi Osaka And the Shaquille O’Neal – “To continue directing investors to the FTX Ponzi scheme.” The lawsuit alleges that consumers suffered $11 billion in damages.

Wednesday marked one year since then Advertising reported that FTX has agreed to a “long-term partnership with global icon and history-maker MLB Superstar Shohei Ohtani.”

In June of last year, five months before Otani signed with FTX, he did Major League Baseball. In a five-year sponsorship deal, FTX earned the title “The official cryptocurrency exchange brand for MLBand patched it on the referee’s jerseys.

Imagine that: the arbiters of fairness and justice in baseball, brought to you by a company that allegedly ran a Ponzi scheme.

The name FTX comes from the arena where the Miami Heat play and the football stadium where UCLA plays. Does the FTX name get out of the MLB Uniform Patches as well?

“I think that would probably be a good bet,” said the commissioner Rob Manfred Thursday said.

Manfred declined to say how much money the league would lose, assuming the FTX sponsorship deal collapsed, but called it “a meaningful deal for us.” However, the reputation of perhaps the greatest player in baseball was tarnished by his participation in a draft that the association itself had vouched for.

In the press release unveiling the FTX sponsorship, MLB Chief Revenue Officer Noah Garden was quoted: “This is an incredibly exciting announcement for everyone in Major League Baseball as we partner with a world leader who is in the early stages of their incredible growth.”

Perhaps “unreasonable” was exactly the right word, as it turned out.

In a lawsuit Thursday, the veteran attorney responsible for shepherding FTX through the bankruptcy process wrote that, “Never in my professional life have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such Complete absence of trustworthy financial information As it happened here. ” The lawyer noted that he has more than four decades of work in this legal specialty, including overseeing the Enron case.

Aside from the bankruptcy case, the lawsuit filed this week alleges that FTX has retained “some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment” to attract investors who could account for “billions of dollars in FTX’s rogue platform to keep the entire scheme afloat.”

The lawsuit alleges that Ohtani and other celebrities did not evaluate FTX carefully before endorsing the company, whose “fraudulent scheme was designed to take advantage of inexperienced investors from all over the country.”

Although Ohtani was named in the lawsuit, Manfred noted that the league itself was not.

“I think we were careful about the scale of our dealings with crypto companies,” he said. “We fully understand the uncertainties and legal risks in this landscape. We will continue to exercise caution in this area.

“Obviously individual players are taking advice from people other than us on these topics.”

However, while the bankruptcy may have come out of nowhere, the concerns about FTX were evident. awesome Moon heads Sitting in camera range behind home plate — FTX promoted “Moon Blasts” — might have been nice. or creepy. Your choice.

However, in August, The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ordered FTX To stop suggesting that cryptocurrency investments were either regulated or federally insured.

“This data has the potential to mislead, and potentially harm consumers,” the FDIC attorney wrote to FTX.

Manfred was asked if this lack of regulation should give the league any pause in dealing with cryptocurrency entities.

“Obviously, the development of FTX has been a little troublesome,” he said. “We’ve been really keen to get this area going. We’ve been really religious about moving away from the coins themselves, rather than more of a company-based sponsorship. We think that was wise, especially given the way things unfolded.

“I think we will operate with caution in the future.”

That would be wise indeed, lest the motive for sponsorship revenue override the diligence of scouting every so-called revolutionary outfit dangling millions in front of baseball owners. As of Thursday, Ohtani’s reputation, and MLB’s website, are in jeopardy FTX remains among the league’s 38 official sponsors.

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