The Boston Bruins have signed former Arizona Coyotes draft pick Mitchell Miller to a three-year entry-level contract. After being selected in the fourth round of the 2020 draft, Miller’s rights were renounced by the Coyotes following the public controversy regarding a 2016 assault conviction for bullying and abusing a Black, developmentally disabled classmate.
In the release from the Bruins, Miller released a statement:
When I was in eighth grade, I made an extremely poor decision and acted very immaturely. I bullied one of my classmates. 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. I strive to be a better person and positively contribute to society.
As a member of the Bruins organization, I will continue to participate in community programs to both educate myself and share my mistakes with others to show what a negative impact those actions can have on others. 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.
After being dropped by the Coyotes, Miller was also cut loose by the University of North Dakota hockey program, which he had been recruited by. He went on to play for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, where he scored 83 points in 60 games last season and was named USHL Defenseman and Player of the Year. He led the league in goals with 39, even as a defenseman.
Bruins president Cam Neely, knowing that this announcement will come with quite a bit of public backlash, also released a statement:
Representing the Boston Bruins is a privilege we take seriously as an organization. Respect and integrity are foundational character traits we expect of our players and staff. Prior to signing Mitchell, our Hockey Operations and Community Relations groups spent time with him over the last few weeks to better understand who he is as an individual and learn more about a significant mistake he made when he was in middle school.
During this evaluation period, Mitchell was accountable for his unacceptable behavior and demonstrated his commitment to work with multiple organizations and professionals to further his education and use his mistake as a teachable moment for others. The expectation is that he will continue this important educational work with personal development and community programs as a member of the Bruins organization.
The Coyotes did not select Miller without knowledge of his past. He had issued a letter to all 31 teams prior to the draft explaining the incident. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reported at the time that at least ten teams had removed him from their draft board completely. Once considered a potential first-round talent, he ended up dropping to 111th overall, the Coyotes’ first selection after losing earlier picks due to combine violations.
That report from Portzline details the abuse, which included rubbing a candy on the inside of a urinal and then enticing his developmentally disabled classmate to put it in his mouth. It also included repeated racial slurs and other bullying.
Miller, now 20, is eligible to play in the AHL for this season.
As Marek & Elliotte are discussing this right now, maybe this one gets put off-limits for comments today. I had two cousins who were developmentally disabled and have a second cousin with Autism, so this kind of thing hits close to home. I have zero time for anybody who, basically, attacks someone who can’t defend themselves properly and if they’re disabled, or very young or elderly, that’s especially contemptible in my book.
He was an eighth grader!!! As your favorite president would say – Cmon Man!!
@anvil35 – My favorite president??? Who, Cris Carter? I love CC, but, C’mon, Man!
I guess with how bad this organization`s drafting/player development/prospect pool are, they feel the talent upside is worth the disastrous PR nightmare that comes with signing this POS. This team`s doing so well to start the season, Cam and Don must’ve figured why not introduce a highly toxic distraction
People do have the ability to change. May God forgive your unforgiving nature.
He was an eighth grader! He was 13 years old. F ing snowflakes.
@anvil35 – He was old enough to know better. He was not smart enough to DO better.
understand your dislike but he was 13/14 years old, I would hate to be judged by my actions when I was that young. Give the kid a chance, if he exhibits even the slightest evidence that he has not learned his lesson then I am all for blacklisting him for good, but give the kid a chance to make amends.
well he fits Boston given their fans racial tweets about Joel Ward and PK Subban lol, i don’t condone that but talent is talent, and kids are stupid. he must’ve performed good enough to get this contract
There is nothing lol about racism.
Didn’t they actually discover that those tweets against PK were coming from a fan in Canada and not Boston?
Normally I give the benefit of the doubt to things like this—Mailloux included—but I’m not feeling good about this one.
The guy still hasn’t properly apologized to the kid’s family. That alone should disqualify this. Bruins really fucked up here
Where is the link that proves what you say? An eighth grader did this.
Here is the link.
link to markerzone.com
@mattc68 – I’d like to know if there is anything more current than that article. It’s been reported recently that Miller *did* apologize (apparently he said so), but if the victim’s family says otherwise, Miller should be called out for that.
Unfortunately I have not seen anything more current.
@mattc68 – Maybe that’s why Miller said what he did. Until the family speaks up again, I think we should take their word, until further notice.
It’s a matter of what qualifies as an “apology” to you. Miller allegedly only recently went and apologized. Apparently it was via Instagram (not 100% sure what that means).
If what the victims mother is saying is true that he only apologized a week ago stating it’s not hockey related and then he goes on to sign a contract a week later… I mean come on. Hopefully this *Man* has grown up and realizes that it’s not alright to be a bully or a racist.
Disappointing as a bruins fan that they would sign a person like this
He was an eighth grader!!! Seriously!
@anvil35 imagine how pathetic it must be to defend someone who did something horrific like this. Who cares what his age was? He was clearly old enough to realize that what he was doing was wrong, but guess what? He didn’t care. He can have a second chance in life, but he doesn’t deserve the chance to make millions of dollars.
I knew at 14 not to pick on a developmentally delayed person. I also love not to call them a racist slur.
Why comment the same thing 5 times?
Jawn, the guy must be Millers throw away account
Really none of you thinks this kid should get a 2nd chance what he did was despicable he went to court for it lost millions so maybe they give him a shot it’s not like he’s going too the NHL he may never make it there
We give criminals 2nd,3rd,4th chances who do far worse things
We do give criminals 2nd, 3rd and 4th chances to rebuild their lives. But we don’t give them 2nd chances to do everything. There are lots of jobs you can’t do if you have a criminal record. That means they may have to go find something else to do with the rest of their lives. I have no problem saying playing professional hockey is one of the things you can’t do after you’ve done something like this.
It’d take at least four instances to get blacklisted in the nfl
I’m not happy that my Bruins are giving this guy another chance but I will say that he was a stupid teenager when this happened, he’s had no repeat incidents since and he’s hopefully grown up and realizes what a scumbag he was. In a world where assault is ignored if you’re good at sports I’m more ok giving this guy another chance due to his age at the time of the incident than the grown men that have shown similar horrible decision making like Kareem Hunt, Kamara, Watson, etc that are allowed to continue their careers and make millions.
I agree. Those guys shouldn’t be playing professional sports either.
There is a very large difference to me between “bullying” and what Miller did, 13 years old or not. Does he deserve a second chance at living a normal life? Definitely. Should he be offered a million-dollar contract and the opportunities that come with that? Likely not. Boston just signed up for a shitshow.
He didn’t sign a multi-million dollar contract. He signed an ELC with stipulations on what he needs to do in the community as a part of his punishment for his actions.
He was an a-hole in the eighth grade. I am certainly not the same person I was in middle school, college etc. and most people other people aren’t either. Give the young man a chance and if he messes up again be done with him.
Right all these people acting like they were angels as a kid and in school I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these clowns saying he shouldn’t get another chance were bullies themselves or if we looked in their past they wouldn’t have the job they have or had
There is a tendency now to include as few details as possible in stories of abuse for many obvious reasons, but it’s still a mistake.
Did he viciously taunt a kid in eighth grade?
Did he trick him, lure him, hogtie him and torture him?
If it’s the former, kids make mistakes, people grow, second chances, yada yada yada.
If it’s the latter, GTFO here and take this monster with you.
UPDATE: Not skipping the last paragraph matters, too. Oops.
F that guy to hell.
If this guy were the second coming of Gretzky then I might at least understand why Boston would bother, but WHY would the front office invite this sort of sh*tstorm when the club is off to the best record ever in club history? Why poison that good time with a dude who AT BEST is “organizational depth.” Makes zero sense.
It is Sports people Teams owners, coaches and most fans only care about winning. History shows again and again. This too be true. Once they can’t help team then same people want book thrown at them for same behavior.
Good grief. Each of you, think of the cruelest, nastiest thing you did when you were 14 years old. Because you all did SOMEthing. At an age where you’re considered too immature to vote, too immature to drink, too immature to sign contracts, too immature to marry, too immature to hold down a full-time job, too immature to live on your own, too immature to smoke.
Now I was thoroughly bullied when I was that age, but I can think of a thing or three I did at that age of which I’m ashamed, and which I’m glad that few (if any) remember, and which I’m DAMN glad I haven’t been judged by others every step of the half century since. (Hell, I try not to judge those who bullied me, because *they* were immature barely post-pubescent brats. Some I know to have turned into decent adults.)
What the hell is wrong with some of you?
I mean if Dany Heatley got another chance shouldn’t this kid?
This was a deplorable thing, to say the least, but we all deserve a second chance especially an with grader. This young man is in position now to make a bigger difference with his second chance than most of us are. We have plenty of time to watch and judge him going forward with this opportunity. I’m pulling for him… and watching him.
I must say, Middle Schooler or not, I don’t know what possesses you to do something like that. This is certainly not a risk I would take if I was Boston. I guess the only way this feels rational is if you say “If it came out right now that he did this at the age he had than we wouldn’t have cut bait”. I can see that rationale, but it’s still quite shaky logic.
Feel sorry for some of you. Guess you were in hell during school. If you think what he did was just simply boys being boys bullying. Read apology sorry it reads like something P, R, firm/ agent wrote.
Actions speak louder than words. Has he worked with handicapped people or spend time with handicapped people.
Sweeney and Neely SUCK!!!
OK, having learned more I can conclusively say, yeah…
F that guy to hell.
He started calling this kid the N word in second grade. SECOND GRADE. And abused him for years before finally feeding him urine soaked candy, which required him to be tested for STD’s.
Not everyone needs a second chance.
Given the choice between sending one of the following two messages…
A) You can abuse a developmentally disabled child for years and your life will be just fine, hunky dory, A OK.
B) Don’t even ****ing think about doing anything like that. Ever
…B is the right one here.
Hopefully this scum of a human gets his ass kicked every game in the AHL. He will fit right in Boston, the most racist city in the United States
Ever been down south fffbbb?
If I’m Miller I’d sue the NHL, 98.5 FM, and Michael Felger. Whatever you did as a 13yo short of maim and murder shouldn’t ruin you life.
Sue them for what exactly? The NHL has a CBA that grants certain privileges as far as who plays in their league. If anything the NHLPA should step in and represent him if he signed a contract and I haven’t heard a peep from them. That lawsuit would be a lost cause because it’s all public knowledge at this point. It’s not slander because it actually happened. So if you’re 13 and put a urinal pop in a handicap kids mouth after years of bullying you get a free pass to go make your millions playing a game and sue for that right? That’s a pipe dream. Even if he happened to win and pocket some cash. what team is gonna sign him at this point? He’s in the black book for the foreseeable future either way, you can’t make a team sign him and with the reaction Boston got(and deservedly so) no other team is gonna sign up for that nightmare. Dude needs to look into a 2nd job hopefully he’s good at it and can be productive, he went to college right? Hope he gained something from it that he can use
Do you know if Eustace King has come forward with any comments yet? I haven’t seen comments from Miller, his agent or his lawyer. This can’t end like this. There could be more to come?