Still under the dark cloud of the Mitchell Miller fiasco, the Boston Bruins have hired former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, now working for the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, to conduct an independent review of their player-vetting process.
Here’s the official statement from the Boston Bruins released just after 3 PM ET on Tuesday afternoon:
‘The Boston Bruins strive every day to live our values and meet the high standards our associates, fans and community have come to expect. This includes treating everyone inside and outside our organization with dignity and respect. We recently fell short of our high standards and disappointed both ourselves and many in our community. Moving forward, we are committed to ensuring that our values are reflected in everything we do as an organization, including our process for vetting future players.
As part of this commitment, the Boston Bruins have retained an experienced and respected team of professionals, led by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch of the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, to conduct an independent review of our player-vetting process. This will help us ensure that our process going forward reflects our core values. The Bruins organization will fully cooperate with the independent review team and will publicly disclose the results of the review upon its completion.’
Off to their best start ever, the Boston Bruins found themselves in a public relations nightmare on Nov. 4 when Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced that the Bruins had signed Mitchell Miller to a three-year, 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 after a 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 at 16, 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. He continued to do all of this after he was convicted and until the age of 18.
The Coyotes came 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.
Speaking on Nov. 7, the morning after he released a statement that announced that the Boston Bruins were ‘parting ways’ with Miller, Boston Bruins team president Cam Neely repeatedly cited ‘new information’ and not talking to Meyer-Crothers and his family as the main reasons for moving on from Miller just two days after signing him on November 4. The disheveled Neely repeatedly cited failure in the vetting process of Miller done by the Boston Bruins.
“There’s a lot of people that are let down today,” Neely told the media on Nov. 7. “I’m disappointed that we’re in this position. We shouldn’t be in this position. So, we could’ve done a better job. We should’ve done a better job.”
He then added: “We didn’t talk to the family. We should’ve talked to the family.”
Neely did not rule out disciplinary action for those working below him and said he would take the past week to determine if anyone could potentially lose their job or jobs for not vetting Miller better.
“Something I have to deal with today and this week and see where it takes me,” he said.
As of 4:30 PM ET on Tuesday, Neely had not released any updates on what he found and if any disciplinary action will take place, but one has to think that it won’t until this review to be conducted by former Attorney General Lynch has concluded.
To date, neither Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs or his son and Bruins and Delaware North CEO Charlie Jacobs have made any public statements on the matter. Two emails from Boston Hockey Now to Delaware North public relations that asked if any statement from the Jacobs would be made were redirected to the Bruins PR department. There has been no reply from the Bruins.