The Boston Bruins announced late Thursday afternoon that their vetting process review that was initiated in the aftermath of the botched Mitchell Miller signing on Nov. 4 has been completed, and will be implemented effective immediately.
Following their controversial signing of Miller, a repeat offender of bullying and racist remarks as a juvenile, the Boston Bruins came under intense scrutiny as stories of Miller’s abuse of classmate Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, that the Bruins later claimed they missed in their vetting process, immediately came back to light. Within two days, the Bruins parted ways with Mitchell Miller, but are yet to terminate his contract. The Boston Bruins then hired U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch of the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to do an extensive review of their player-vetting process. On Thursday they announced the results in a press release:
“The steps we are announcing today underscore our organization’s commitment to our values, including our process for vetting future players,” Boston Bruins CEO Charlie Jacobs said. “These improvements, which the team will begin implementing immediately, will help ensure that we are meeting the high standards our associates, fans and community expect from this great organization.”
“Throughout our independent and thorough review process, the Bruins’ leadership and employees cooperated fully. Based upon our review, we have recommended a series of changes and enhancements to the process of vetting future players,” said Loretta Lynch.
The Paul, Weiss review determined that, while the Bruins did have an existing process for vetting players and there was no misconduct by Bruins employees during the Miller vetting process, there were gaps in the club’s vetting procedures, which created challenges when faced, as here, with a recruit with significant red flags. In the case of Mitchell Miller, those red flags involved findings of prior juvenile misconduct, but there could in the future be circumstances involving other objectionable conduct that could render a prospect ineligible to join the Bruins organization. Paul, Weiss identified several improvements to the team’s vetting process. The Bruins leadership has taken, and will continue to take, steps to ensure that organizational values and standards are upheld moving forward. The following specific recommendations were identified:
- Establish clear written policies for vetting off-ice conduct, including identifying red flags requiring detailed vetting and documented resolution
- Establish clear timetables and responsibilities within the organization to investigate prospects’ community or other off-ice commitments
- Establish centralized documentation of vetting to include reporting on red flags and off-ice issues and ensure such documentation is available to all stakeholders involved in the process
- Establish tracking system to ensure responsibilities for all vetting tasks are clearly assigned and tracked.
- Utilize independent third-party resources to investigate and resolve factual issues when reviewing red flags
- Determine whether there are specific training or rehabilitation programs the prospect should participate in depending on the nature of the red flags
Per numerous NHL sources, Miller is still being paid for the remainder of the season on his AHL rate of $82,500. Following the season, the Bruins can buy him out of the remaining two years of the contract at one-third of the $775,000 per at his NHL pay scale. That would equate to a buyout sum of $516,615 plus the total in guaranteed bonuses that amounts to $285,000.