BOSTON (WPRI) — Boston Bruins President Cam Neeley announced Sunday that the organization will “part ways with Mitchell Miller.”
Miller was originally drafted to the Arizona Coyotes in 2020 but was let go after it came to light that he bullied a Black classmate with developmental disabilities in middle school.
Neely called the initial move his “biggest regret” as president and that the team “dropped the ball” in its vetting of the defenseman.
The Bruins offered the 20-year-old a contract on Friday only to rescind it 48 hours later after Neely said they found “new information” about Mitchell’s past.
The backlash began just hours after signing Mitchell, who was convicted of the abuse of his former classmate in 2016.
“We believe it is the best decision at this time to rescind the opportunity for Mitchell Miller to represent the Boston Bruins. We hope that he continues to work with professionals and programs to further his education and personal growth,” Neely said in a statement.
Neely also went on to apologize to Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, who was the victim of Miller’s bullying.
“We are sorry that this decision has overshadowed the incredible work the members of our organization do to support diversity and inclusion efforts. We will continue to stand against bullying and racism in all of its forms.”
“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.”
Finally, as a father, I think there is a lesson to be learned here for other young people. Be mindful of careless behaviors and going with the group mentality of hurting others. The repercussions can be felt for a lifetime,” he said.
Isaiah’s mother, Joni Meyer-Crothers, said Miller never personally apologized to Isaiah or their family other than a court-mandated letter.
In a news conference Monday, Neeley affirmed that signing Miller had been the wrong decision, citing the new information was obtained after the signing. He said the organization knew of Mitchell’s past but was under the impression he had been working on these issues over the past six years.
“For me, it was not worth putting the organization through this any longer,” he said. “Initially I was thinking it was going to be, OK, this kid deserves a second chance and I thought there were going to be some people that were going to be upset about it. But to the extent of this, I misread that.”
Neeley added that the team will be re-evaluating its internal process for choosing new members to play in the National Hockey League for the Boston Bruins.
The organization plans to discuss the matter with the victim’s family and will decide on disciplinary actions later this week.
Miller’s agent released a statement saying that throughout the last six years, Mitchell has been volunteering with many organizations and understands the severity of his past mistakes.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said over the weekend that Miller was ineligible to play in the NHL. Miller has also sent a letter to all 31 NHL teams apologizing for his behavior.
The news has cast a dark cloud over the Bruin’s strong start to the 2022-23 season.