Mitchell Miller has had his contract with the Boston Bruins terminated after the National Hockey League determined he was unqualified to play in the league because of his conviction for bullying a former Black classmate with a developmental disability.
According to CNN, Miller was 14 when he and another teen were convicted of bullying Isaiah Meyer-Crothers. Miller and the teen allegedly lured Meyer-Crothers to eat candy that had been put in a urinal, the Arizona Republic reported. An Ohio juvenile court sentenced Miller and the teen to community service after they confessed to bullying their developmentally disabled classmate.
In the wake of the incident, Miller’s critics also said he has done little to either show he regretted his actions or demonstrate that he has since been reformed, NPR reported. Meyer-Crothers also said he was abused for years.
“It was on a daily basis,” the victim’s mother told WCVB. “I mean, there’s documentation of that from students saying that it happened every day, that, you know, they would go to the principal and say something. And Isaiah just got to the point where he quit even telling anyone what was going on because nobody did anything.”
The Boston Bruins announced they had parted ways with the now-20-year-old on Sunday. The team said the termination of Miller’s entry-level contract took immediate effect. And the announcement of the contract termination came after new details about the bullying allegations and his conviction were revealed, per CNN.
Boston Bruins president Cam Neely said they initially arrived at the decision to sign Miller after they looked into the facts of the allegations. Neelly added that Miller “made a poor decision that led to a juvenile conviction” when he was 14 years old.
“We understood this to be an isolated incident and that he had taken meaningful action to reform and was committed to ongoing personal development. Based on that understanding we offered him a contract,” said Neely.
The team ultimately decided to part ways with Miller after the circulation of the new details regarding the bullying. “We hope that he continues to work with professionals and programs to further his education and personal growth,” Neely said.
Neely also rendered an apology to Meyers-Crothers and his family. “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,” Neely said. “We will continue to stand against bullying and racism in all of its forms.”
Neely continued: “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.”
On Saturday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said that the Bruins did not contact the league before offering Miller the contract. Bettman also labeled Miller’s actions as “reprehensible” and “unacceptable.”
“He’s not coming into the NHL. He’s not eligible at this point to come into the NHL. I can’t tell you that he’ll ever be eligible to come into the NHL,” Bettman said at the NHL Global Series in Tampere, Finland.
“So the answer is they were free to sign him to play somewhere else, that’s another league’s issue, but nobody should think at this point he is or may ever be NHL eligible. And the Bruins understand that now.”
Miller was initially drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in 2020. But the team parted ways with him after the Arizona Republic published a report about the bullying and his conviction. Miller also appeared to admit to the incident after the Bruins signed him.
“When I was in eighth grade, I made an extremely poor decision and acted very immaturely,” he said in a statement provided by his former team.
“I deeply regret the incident and have apologized to the individual. Since the incident, I have come to better understand the far-reaching consequences of my actions that I failed to recognize and understand nearly seven years ago,” he added. “To be clear, what I did when I was 14 years old was wrong and unacceptable. There is no place in this world for being disrespectful to others and I pledge to use this opportunity to speak out against mistreating others.”