The Boston Bruins have signed former Arizona Coyotes draft pick and former controversial USHL star defenseman Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract.
After being drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the fourth round (111th overall), of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Mitchell Miller eventually saw his rights get renounced his rights after story surfaced that he had been convicted in juvenile court of bullying and abusing a classmate when he was 14-years-old. Miller, 20, was found guilty of accusations that, starting in second grade, he and a classmate repeatedly bullied their disabled classmate Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, including using repeated racial slurs and physically demeaning him. The Coyotes had come under immediate and heavy scrutiny after drafting Miller but it wasn’t until a series of letters from Meyer-Crothers’ mother Joni and eventually sitting down with and listening to her, did they make the decision to cut ties with Miller.
Miller also lost a full scholarship to the University of North Dakota as a result of the stories that surfaced.
Boston Bruins team president Cam Neely had this to say in a press release statement announcing the signing on Friday.
Representing the Boston Bruins is a privilege we take seriously as an organization,” Neely said. “Respect and integrity are foundational character traits we expect of our players and staff. Prior to signing Mitchell, our Hockey Operations and Community Relations groups spent time with him over the last few weeks to better understand who he is as an individual and learn more about a significant mistake he made when he was in middle school.
During this evaluation period, Mitchell was accountable for his unacceptable behavior and demonstrated his commitment to work with multiple organizations and professionals to further his education and use his mistake as a teachable moment for others. The expectation is that he will continue this important educational work with personal development and community programs as a member of the Bruins organization.”
The stories of the bullying by Miller and his classmate that continued to surface had also gotten worse and played a role in the Coyotes decision to renounce his rights. Craig Harris and Jose M. Romero of the Arizona Republic, reported that Miller admitted in Ohio juvenile court in 2016 that in addition to the repeated bullying of Meyer-Crothers repeatedl and that he also hurled the n-word against on numerous occasions.
No story was more horrifying though than the one of Miller and his classmate making Meyer-Crothers lick a lollipop that was previously rubbed along a bathroom urinal. Isaiah Meyer-Crothers would undergo tests for HIV, hepatitis, and various other sexually transmitted diseases, according to the scathing report. All of the tests came back negative.
In the same press release mentioned above, Mitchell Miller acknowledged his mistakes and spoke of the work he’s done to atone for them and become a better person.
“When I was in eighth grade, I made an extremely poor decision and acted very immaturely,” Miller said. “I bullied one of my classmates. I deeply regret the incident and have apologized to the individual. Since the incident, I have come to better understand the far-reaching consequences of my actions that I failed to recognize and understand nearly seven years ago. I strive to be a better person and positively contribute to society.
As a member of the Bruins organization, I will continue to participate in community programs to both educate myself and share my mistakes with others to show what a negative impact those actions can have on others. To be clear, what I did when I was 14 years old was wrong and unacceptable. There is no place in this world for being disrespectful to others and I pledge to use this opportunity to speak out against mistreating others.”
Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was scheduled to speak to the media via Zoom at 1 PM ET, as was Mitchell Miller in person after practicing with the Providence Bruins at noon.