Back in November 2017, former Braves general manager John Coppolella was severely punished by Major League Baseball. Whether it was called a “lifetime ban” or MLB said he was placed on the “permanently ineligible” list, the punishment was to keep Coppolella out of baseball for the rest of his life.
Instead, MLB lifted the ban, the league confirmed on Monday. “We can confirm that Mr. Coppolella has been reinstated given the more than five years he has spent on the ineligible list, the remorse he has expressed, and other steps he has taken in response to this matter,” MLB said in a statement.
Coppolella’s suspension in 2017 was due to circumventing international signing restrictions due to an illegal practice referred to as “bonding”. Due to this practice, the Braves heavily underestimated signing bonuses for a number of international players and were forced to release 12 of them. They received several punishments as a team in addition to Coppolella’s ban.
Coppolella released a statement to The Athletic.thanking MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.
“I want to thank Commissioner Manfred for granting my application for removal from the ineligible list. I am deeply grateful to so many people who have been involved in this process, including (Executive Vice President of Legal and Operations) Brian Seeley and (Senior Vice President of President of Investigations and Deputy General Counsel) Moira Weinberg of Major League Baseball.”
Coppolella joined the Braves as director of baseball operations in 2006 and was director of professional scouting by 2011. He was promoted to assistant general manager in 2011 and then to general manager and president of baseball operations in 2014. International market disruptions aside, his tenure as a baseball executive could be considered a success. His fingerprints are all over the Braves’ recent successes. He had a hand in acquiring such talents as Ronald Acuña, Austin Riley, Max Freed, Ozzy Albis and several others.
After being banned from baseball, Coppolella apparently worked for timeshare companies and also earned an MBA in finance. There is no word on whether he would want to return to the front office immediately, but he specifically mentioned in his statement that he had applied for reinstatement.
Would you be immediately hired back to a top job? This is a question for the league’s owners, but there’s one big revelation: The Astros still haven’t taken over as general manager since.