The Boston Bruins are regarded as one of the league’s best teams. But no one is talking about their dazzling start to the season or their NHL top-tier goal differential. Instead, the attention is on the organization’s choice to sign defenseman Mitchell Miller, only to “end things” with him just days later following widespread criticism from the Association.
The signing of the 20-year-old defenseman sparked outrage from the minute the Bruins announced it on Friday. Miller was originally drafted in the fourth round by the Arizona Coyotes in 2020. A story in the Arizona Republic moments after he was picked recounted how Miller and another middle school classmate were convicted in juvenile court in 2016 of racially assaulting and tormenting Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, who is Black.
According to the investigation, Meyer-Crothers’ mother stated that Miller began assaulting her child in second grade and used racist, derogatory terms often. The issue has sparked concerns about NHL teams’ screening methods, as well as a subculture in elite youth sports that allows bullies to dodge accountability.
The selection has been slammed with strong criticism from the press and fans, and also from within the Bruins’ locker room and NHL management. Patrice Bergeron, current Bruins forward as well as club captain, has spoken with SportsNet about the decision.
Complaints Concerning Miller Garnered Nationwide Attention in 2020.
Miller’s road to the NHL has been unexpectedly obstructed for the second time. The Arizona Coyotes selected Miller in 2020, but the management renounced their rights days later after Miller’s former classmate, Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, spoke out about several years of abuse at Miller’s hands, resulting in a juvenile court case.
Miller’s story begins in middle school. In 2016, he and a classmate were declared guilty in juvenile court on one count of assault and one count of breaking the Ohio Safe School Act when they were 14 years old. Miller and a teenager engaged in a practice of racist, aggressive behavior toward Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a cognitively disabled Black student.
In addition to using racist comments against the student “for years,” the two lads deceived him into eating chocolates they pulled through a urinal. They were also recorded on security footage violently striking and kicking a student. Despite the fact that this behavior was widely publicized in 2020, the Coyotes chose him in the fourth round with their initial pick in the draught.
Following the decision, Coyotes Team President and CEO Alex Gutierrez made a statement emphasizing that the team had hoped high for Miller but also that the team wished to be a part of the “solution.” That statement, however, fell flat with Joni Meyer-Crothers, the abused student’s adoptive mother.
Meyer-Crothers was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and had the cognitive age of a 10-year-old at the moment of the bullying and abuse, as per his adoptive mother. She contacted the team after Arizona was chosen, pointing out that Miller may have sent an apology letter to NHL member clubs, but neither to her nor to her son.
Meyer-Crothers also pointed out that while Miller’s classmate “came down in tears” while apologizing to her son, Miller never directly apologized. Miller, in reality, displayed no remorse at the time of his guilty plea, according to the court. Meyer-Crothers stated in a letter to the Coyotes that, in addition to the lack of a personal apology to her son:
joni meyer-crothers, the mother of miller's victim, wrote a letter in 2020 saying that miller never apologized to the victim and continued to torment him years after being found guilty. absolutely disgraceful move by the bruins https://t.co/Ck8Vj194Ye pic.twitter.com/cKd7c0XDcg
— Victoria (@fakehockeyteam) November 4, 2022
Bruins President Nelly Apologises To The Student Bullied By Miller
In a statement issued late Sunday night, Bruins president Cam Neely stated that the judgment to sign Miller “was made after a thorough review of the facts as we were aware of them.” Miller’s assault of Meyer-Crothers, according to Neely, was “an isolated episode,” and Miller “had taken serious action to improve and was dedicated to ongoing self-improvement.” Neely added in the statement, “To Isaiah and his family, my deepest apologies if this signing made you and other victims feel unseen and unheard. We apologize for the deep hurt and impact we have caused.”
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 5, 2022
Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron stated that the team’s culture goes opposite to the type of conduct Miller exhibited. Miller’s actions, he claimed, were “unacceptable,” and “we don’t stand by it.” The Bruins made a mistake when they signed Miller, and they are now moving on. However, the explanations provided at the time of the agreement, as well as in the wake of the recent, suffer from lack.