The Boston Bruins signed Mitchell Miller, an NHL prospect whose draft rights were relinquished after his past conviction of abusing and bullying a developmentally disabled classmate was made public, to an entry-level contract on Friday (November 4), ESPN reports.
Miller, 20, a defenseman, was selected by the Arizona Coyotes in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft before a detailed account of himself and another middle classmate's conviction in juvenile court on charges of racially abusing and bullying Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, who is Black, in 2016 was made public shortly after.
Meyer-Crothers' mother alleged that Miller began abusing her son in second grade, which included repeated usage of racial epithets and continued for several years prior to the conviction.
"When I was in eighth grade, I made an extremely poor decision and acted very immaturely," Miller said in a statement released by the Bruins and obtained by ESPN on Friday. "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."
"... 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."
Bruins president Cam Neely said the team's decision to sign Miller took place after the franchise's hockey operations department and community relations group spent time with the 20-year-old during the past few weeks to "better understand" who he is as a person 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," Neely said in a statement obtained by ESPN. "The expectation is that he will continue this important educational work with personal development and community programs as a member of the Bruins organization."