March 28, 2023
Bruins part ways with recently signed Miller -

Bruins part ways with recently signed Miller –

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins decided on Sunday to rescind their contract offer for Mitchell Miller, who Arizona gave up his drafting rights for bullying a developmentally disabled black classmate in middle school.

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 is not currently eligible to play in the league.

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

“We owe it to our fans, players, employees, partners and community to ensure our practices and protocols are consistent with the ethos that we demand of ourselves and as an organization,” said Neely. “As such, we will be re-evaluating our internal processes for screening individuals seeking to earn the privilege of playing for the Boston Bruins in the National Hockey League.”

Earlier Sunday, Agent Eustace King released a statement saying O2K Sports Management took part in serious consideration before deciding to represent Miller and said the defense attorney had worked with organizations and volunteered for them and himself obliged to change his behavior. King did not immediately respond to a message Sunday night seeking comment on the Bruins’ decision.

Boston’s decision to sign Miller didn’t sit well with players from captain Patrice Bergeron down. Bergeron said he had been consulted about the possibility and was “on the fence”.

“The culture that we’ve built here is opposed to that type of behavior,” Bergeron said. “This dressing room is all about inclusion, diversity and respect.”

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

“Hard to hear for our group,” he said. “I won’t lie to you. I don’t think anyone was too happy.”

The Coyotes selected Miller in the fourth round of the 2020 draft despite being aware of his 2016 assault conviction. The team parted ways with Miller amid criticism after learning more about the bullying.

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

Miller pleaded guilty to assault and a violation of the Ohio Safe Schools Act at the age of 14. He and another teenager were accused of tricking Meyer-Crothers into eating a candy push pop after wiping it down in a bathroom urinal, and surveillance video showed them kicking and hitting him.

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

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

“When I was in eighth grade, I made an extremely bad decision and acted very immaturely,” Miller said in a statement. “I bullied one of my classmates. I deeply regret the incident and have apologized to the person. Since the incident, I have a better understanding of the far-reaching consequences of my actions that I failed to recognize and understand almost seven years ago.”

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

“We are sorry that this decision overshadowed the incredible work that members of our organization are doing to support diversity and inclusion efforts,” Neely said, apologizing to Meyer-Crothers and his family and telling the team stand against bullying and racism. “I think other young people here have a lesson to learn. Watch out for sloppy behavior and deal with the group mentality of hurting others. The effects can be felt for a lifetime.”


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