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Bruins Captain Bergeron Was ‘On The Fence’ On Miller Signing

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Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron admitted that he was ‘on the fence’ when Bruins general manager Don Sweeney first came to him to get his input on whether or not the team should sign controversial defenseman Mitchell Miller.

“I was on the fence,” Bergeron told Elliotte Friedman in an interview that will air on Sportsnet during the Hockey Night In Canada broadcast of the Bruins-Maple Leafs game Saturday night. “As a person but also as a team, we stand for integrity and inclusion and diversity, obviously. That was the first thing that came out of my mouth, was that it goes against what we are as a culture and as a team. And for me as a person.”

The Bruins are, and likely will be under heavy scrutiny for the foreseeable future for signing Mitchell Miller, who after being drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the fourth round (111th overall), of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, 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 now, 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.

According to Bergeron, Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, as he attempted to do with the media following the shocking signing on Friday, ultimately convinced Bergeron and his teammates that Miller is on the right path to redemption.

“I’ve been told lately that. …he’s working hard to make huh. …some changes to hopefully make those bad decisions in the past to help others. …huh. …not do that,” Bergeron said. “For me, I think the work is on him.”

You may or may not recall that, Bergeron, along with then Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, were both very vocal and active in promoting racial injustice awareness in the wake of the George Floyd murder in 2020.

“The murder of George Floyd and the protests that followed, made me realize that by not speaking up on the matter, and not using my voice as a professional athlete, it’s in fact allowing racism to fester and continue. Silence is not an option for me anymore,” Bergeron, who made two separate donations to further awareness that summer, said back on July 28, 2020.

Recently retired Zdeno Chara, who was captain at the time, even marched with Black Lives Matter members.

“For the last 13 days, I have been sick about George Floyd’s murder,” Chara wrote in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder. “I have taken time to think and listen. Time to find bravery and time to try to find the right words, though I’ll admit I’m still struggling.”

Even Sweeney, who ultimately made the decision to sign Miller and stood by it on Friday, spoke out against racial injustice and supported players like former Boston Bruins forward Anson Carter and the Hockey Diversity Alliance two years ago.

“You know I was reading articles this morning on Anson Carter and a couple of the players I played with that getting involved. …you know Trevor Daley having a higher profile. …I applaud each and every player for their individual efforts and support them, they have the complete backing of the Boston Bruins” Sweeney said on June 12, 2020.

“If our players want to be more socially available to comment in that regard and voice their opinions and, in Zdeno Chara’s case, support a protest and march with people, I applaud their efforts. It’s a testament to their leadership, not as hockey players, but as human beings and family men and people that know that they have to listen and allow this to resonate.”

 

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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William

Headline should be Bergerson says Miller signing “goes against what we are as a culture and as a team“. Don’t know why Sportsnet chose the wishy-washiest part of the interview to make its headline.

John

So we give repeat adult criminals a pass in our society ( only to continue to commit more crime ) but we can’t give a kid a second chance whose grave sins occurred at the age of 14 ? Kinda hypocritical to me. What he did at that age was heinous to a disabled child but if he has truly changed his ways he deserves a shot ( although on a short leash)

Orrfan

It was just something that occurred once, when he was 14 years old, then fine. But this was an on going torture based on racism and whatever the hatred of the handicapped is called (we don’t even get our own “ism”).
I don’t see where that behavior gets rewarded with an NHL career and the privilege of being a pro athlete. No.

Jaz00000

Jim Jim has so few readers that he has to reply to himself lol! And is located on page 5… two pages after “The Canuck Army”.
9 comments and 3 of them are from you, one of which, you’re literally replying to yourself hahaha!

skate

Bergy nooooooooo. You have a one year contract. You are Patrice mon Dieu Bergeron. You are known for being all about integrity. What are they gonna do, fire you? The entire league looks up to you and respects you. You’re a father! You’re going to throw what Chara and you built over 14 years for this unnecessary pick? You need to speak out against this not tepidly endorse it. I’m so sad. ☹️

Me

What are you talking about Jimmy? He didn’t keep doing it through high school, he was convicted at 14! Oh I gotta virtue signal now to make all the woke humps happy and say “oh it was bad”. There, you happy? I’ll also say he was a 14 year old child ! I wish all the crap you pulled when you were 14 was exposed so maybe we could get all of you fired from your jobs. You woke morons make me vomit.

Kevin L

This is just a few facts of this monster’s behavior — which, by the way, was only a few years ago! Neely & Sweeney keep repeating “What he did in 8th grade”. THAT’S A LIE. This guy tortured the kid throughout Junior High School. The victim’s mother says: “He told our son that his Black mom and dad didn’t love him, that’s why he had white parents,” Joni Meyer-Crothers said. “On a daily basis, was called the N-word. [Miller] would ask Isaiah to sit with him on the bus, and as soon as Isaiah would sit with him, him and… Read more »

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