‘Devastated’ Coppolella apologizes following lifetime ban

  • AJC Sports
Dec 05, 2017
Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com
Braves President of Baseball Operations John Hart and General Manager John Coppolella have both left the organization.

Former Braves general manager John Coppolella -- banned for life by Major League Baseball last month as part of discipline handed down by the league for major infractions committed in the international free-agent market -- issued his first public statement on the matter.

Coppolella gave a five-paragraph statement to the media, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on Tuesday. It reads:

“To this point I have not commented about my departure from the Atlanta Braves. I have been hesitant to speak publicly as my family and I have been devastated and embarrassed by the repercussions of my actions. I realize now that I need to address what happened and speak to those affected.

“To everyone who supports the Atlanta Braves and to everyone who loves the game of baseball, I am deeply sorry.

“Throughout my 20-year baseball career my singular focus has been to help make my team more successful. I am heartbroken that in this case my conduct has done the opposite for the Atlanta Braves organization. I accept full responsibility for my actions.

“To those in the baseball industry, including employees of the Braves and other organizations who feel I was in any way disrespectful or dishonest, I apologize. To the Commissioner’s Office, who spent many extra hours dealing with such an unfortunate situation, please accept my apology. To the Braves fans and to those in the front office who supported me throughout my time as a General Manager, please know that I understand and accept your anger and frustration. To my family, who has stood by my side through this entire ordeal, I love you so much and I am sorry for the pain my actions have caused you.

“I have learned the lesson of a lifetime, as my mistakes have cost me my dream job and my future in the game that I love. I hope that other people, regardless of their profession, use this as a cautionary tale when making their own business decisions. I have been disgraced and humbled, and I will strive for the rest of my life to live honorably so that this is not my defining moment.”

Coppolella, 38, resigned the day after the regular-season finale.

As a result of Coppolella’s actions, the Braves forfeited rights to 13 international prospects, are prohibited from signing any international player for more than $10,000 during the 2019-20 signing period and are restricted from signing players in the next two signing periods for contracts with bonuses greater than $300,000.

Kevin Maitan, infielder Abrahan Gutierrez, catcher Yunior Severino, infielder Juan Contreras, pitcher Juan Carlos Negret, outfielder Yefri del Rosario, pitcher RHP Guillermo Zuniga: 19-year-old right-handed pitcher from Columbia was 1-3 with a 4.26 ERA in 31.2 innings in the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League INF Livan Soto: 17-year-old shortstop from Venezuela hit .225 with 14 RBIs in 47 games in the Gulf Coast League 3B Yenci Pena: 17-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic hit .230 wi