Although the punishment that the Braves are currently receiving seems to lineup with the speculation and rumors that had been running rampant since the story of the scandal broke, there wasn’t too much talk about what would happen to John Coppolella. After all, his sudden resignation from his position as General Manager of the Braves is what kicked off this entire saga and I’m willing to venture that we probably thought that his “self-imposed” exile would be the extent of his punishment.
However, Rob Manfred had other ideas when it came to Coppolella. Shortly after MLB confirmed the punishment that we’ve been covering on the site today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post was the first to report that Manfred came to the decision to ban Gordon Blakeley for one year and John Coppolella for life.
In statement Manfred announces former #Braves GM John Coppolella is banned for life, international head Gordon Blakely for 1 yr— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) November 21, 2017
In effect, Coppolella’s “self-imposed” exile has turned into a formal and permanent exile from the game. Of course he’ll still be able to buy tickets to game and attend as a fan, but as far as working in the game is concerned, Coppy is now persona non grata and is considered to be in the same category as the likes of Pete Rose, the Black Sox, and other figures who have brought the game into disrepute in some way, shape or form.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports basically summed it up in a tweet, but it bears repeating that this is clearly Rob Manfred sending a message to the rest of baseball and using Coppy as an example. Other organizations may be cheating in a vein similar to how the Braves are, but the Braves got caught and if you get caught then you should expect to receive similar and maybe even worse punishment from MLB than what Coppolella and the Braves received.
With that being said, it’s still a huge shock that the Commissioner actually went as far as to actually ban Coppolella for life. I figured that it would just stay as a formal blacklisting, but the fact that they decided to formally ban him from the game goes to show that the rumors stating that the punishment would be “unprecedented” were indeed true.
It’s a sad end to what started out as an intriguing and promising front office career for Coppolella. This basically guarantees that he’ll be remembered for leaving the game as a disgrace and also leaving the Braves in a bit of disarray after he got caught cheating in the international market.