Bruins cut ties with Mitchell Miller who bullied a black classmate


Mitchell Miller was dropped by Arizona after the Coyotes took him to the 2020 draft because of his abusive past. Eldon Holmes/Tri-City Storm

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins on Sunday decided to rescind their contract offer to prospect Mitchell Miller, who was dropped his draft rights by Arizona for bullying a black schoolmate with an intellectual disability. to college.

  • Bruins cut ties with Mitchell Miller who bullied a black classmate

    Read Cam Neely’s statement on Bruins’ decision to cut ties with Mitchell Miller

The team signed Miller to an entry-level contract on Friday, prompting criticism from players and comments from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman that the 20-year-old would not currently be eligible to play in the league. league.

Team president Cam Neely said in a statement that the Bruins believe Miller’s bullying of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers was an isolated incident and a reverse course based on new information.

“We owe it to our fans, players, staff, partners and community to ensure that our practices and protocols are consistent with the ethics we demand of ourselves and as an organization,” Neely said. “As such, we will be reassessing our internal processes for selecting individuals who wish to earn the privilege of playing in the National Hockey League for the Boston Bruins.”

Earlier on Sunday, agent Eustace King released a statement saying O2K Sports Management took part in serious deliberations before deciding to represent Miller, saying the defender works and volunteers for organizations and is committed to change his habits. King did not immediately respond to a message Sunday night seeking comment on the Bruins’ decision.

Boston opting to sign Miller hasn’t gone over well with the players, from captain Patrice Bergeron down. Bergeron said he was consulted about this possibility and was “on the fence.”

“The culture we’ve built here is against that kind of behavior,” Bergeron said. “In this locker room, we’re all about inclusion, diversity, respect.”

Boston forward Nick Foligno called the signing “hard to swallow.”

“Hard thing for our band to hear,” he said. “I’m not going to lie to you. I don’t think any guy was too happy.

The Coyotes picked Miller in the fourth round of the 2020 draft despite knowing about his 2016 assault conviction. The team parted ways with Miller amid criticism after learning more about the intimidation.

The University of North Dakota announced a day later that Miller was no longer on the school hockey team.

Miller pleaded guilty at age 14 to one count of assault and one count of violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act. He and another teenager were accused of making Meyer-Crothers eat candy after wiping him in a bathroom urinal, and surveillance video showed them kicking and fist.

Meyer-Crothers’ mother, Joni, told The Arizona Republic that Miller started bullying her son in second grade and used racial epithets.

Miller sent a letter to all 31 NHL teams acknowledging what happened and apologizing for his behavior. Joni Meyer-Crothers said Miller never personally apologized to Isaiah or his family, except in a court-mandated letter.

“When I was in eighth grade, I made an extremely bad decision and acted very immature,” Miller said in a statement. “I harassed one of my classmates. I deeply regret the incident and have apologized to the person. Since the incident, I have come to better understand the profound consequences of my actions that I had not acknowledged or understood nearly seven years ago.

Miller missed the 2020-21 season before scoring 39 goals and 44 assists for Tri-City of the USHL in 2021-22. He was named USHL Player and Defenseman of the Year after setting league records for goals and points by a defenseman.

“We are sorry that this decision has overshadowed the incredible work members of our organization are doing to support diversity and inclusion efforts,” Neely said, apologizing to Meyer-Crothers and her family and saying the team stands against bullying and racism. “I think there is a lesson to be learned here for other young people. Be aware of negligent behavior and adopt the group mentality of hurting others. The repercussions can be felt for life. »


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