The Boston Bruins are facing backlash over their decision to sign 20-year-old defenseman Mitchell Miller, who admitted in court to bullying a classmate with racist language.
Many Bruins fans, National Hockey League commissioners and Bruins players denied Friday’s announcement that the team had signed Miller to an entry-level contract with Boston’s AHL-affiliated Providence Bruins. reaction.
“It’s not something that everyone in this room stands for,” said Bruins veteran forward Nick Foligno. Reporters at the team’s morning skate in Toronto on Saturday. “The culture that we built and the culture that they built before I came here is one of inclusivity. rice field.
Commissioner Gary Bettmann told reporters Saturday before the Colorado-Columbus game in Tampere, Finland, that the Bruins did not consult with the league before signing Miller, who is currently eligible to play in the league. said no. If the Bruins decide to promote him, they will have to appeal to Bettmann before Miller becomes eligible.
Bettmann suggested that clearing the mirrors would not be easy.
“What I understand and have heard through the media is that what he did at 14 is reprehensible and unacceptable,” Bettmann said. He added: But at this point, no one should think that he is, or could be, NHL eligible. The Bruins understand it now. ”
Whether the Bruins keep Miller or not, the deal already tarnishes the legacy of the Original Six Team, which made Willie Ory the NHL’s first black player in 1958.
Patrice Bergeron is sports net interview In Toronto, where the Bruins were due to face the Maple Leafs on Saturday, he said it was against Bruins culture to bring in a player with such a toxic background.
“We clearly stand for integrity, inclusivity and diversity,” said Bruins captain Bergeron. “Those were the first words that came out of my mouth. It’s a little bit against who we are as a team and as who I am.”
In 2016, Miller, who was 14 at the time, pleaded guilty to one count of assault and one count of violating the Ohio Safety Schools Act. He and another teen are accused of feeding a 14-year-old boy with developmental disabilities, Isiah Meyer Crothers, candy after wiping it down a toilet bowl. Surveillance camera footage showed the boys kicking and punching him. Miller also used racist adjectives for boys who were black.
Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said he was troubled by the decision to sign Miller, but suggested other teams were also interested in signing him.
“If they’re going to give him a chance, we’re all going to have to look in the mirror and say, ‘Why don’t you want to give him a chance,'” Sweeney said during a video press conference with reporters on Friday. Told. .
Ahead of the 2020 draft, Miller, who is white, apologized in writing to all NHL teams, but not the victims. He was not asked to apologize, but did so on social media rather than in person. Isaiah’s mother, Joni Meyer-Crowthers, said the other person involved in the attack apologized in person in tears.
The Arizona Coyotes drafted Miller in the fourth round, 111th overall. Arizona Republic After reporting on bullying and Miller’s conviction in juvenile court, the team waived his rights. Miller was playing for the University of North Dakota at the time. kicked off the teamthat too.
In a statement released Friday, Miller apologized for just one incident.
“During my eighth grade, I made some very poor decisions and acted very immaturely,” the statement said. “I bullied one of my classmates. We are now better able to understand the impact of