Disgraced ex-Braves GM breaks silence after being banned from baseball

Big League Stew
Ex-Braves GM John Coppolella broke his silence after being banned from baseball. (AP)
Ex-Braves GM John Coppolella broke his silence after being banned from baseball. (AP)

John Coppolella owns the dubious honor of going from a general manager with one of the best farm systems in baseball to being banned for life from Major League Baseball in just a few short months.

Coppolella stepped down as Braves GM in October amid an MLB investigation that eventually resulted in the league declaring 12 Braves prospects free agents and Coppolella himself being added to the permanently ineligible list along with some infamous folks — Pete Rose, three-time PED test failer Jenrry Mejía and Chris Correa, the ex-Cardinals exec who hacked the Astros.

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On Tuesday, Coppolella broke his silence, apologizing for what he did, saying he’s “deeply sorry” and that he’s “learned the lesson of a lifetime.” Coppolella didn’t get too specific about his actions — MLB said the Braves broke rules regarding the signing of international free agents — but he did note that his “singular focus” was improving the team. By any means necessary, apparently.

Here’s what Coppolella said, via ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:

“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 sent that out via text message, which jibes with one detail about his days as Braves GM. Yahoo Sports’ own Jeff Passan reported that Coppolella would send 2,000 word text messages to other MLB GMs, some of who didn’t care for him.

For the record: That silence-breaking statement clocked in 296 words. So maybe Coppolella has already started on his path to becoming a better person.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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