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Bruins sign renounced Coyotes draft pick Mitchell Miller to entry-level pact

Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Boston Bruins signed renounced Arizona Coyotes draft pick Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract, the team announced Friday.

Miller will report to the AHL's Providence Bruins beginning Nov. 4.

The Coyotes drafted Miller in the fourth round in 2020 despite knowing that he bullied a Black developmentally disabled classmate in 2016.

Arizona president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez didn't immediately cut ties with the defenseman after facing backlash for the organization's decision because he felt a "responsibility to be a part of the solution in a real way," according to the Arizona Republic's Craig Harris and Jose M. Romero.

However, Gutierrez and the Coyotes reversed course a few days later after learning more about the "impact" Miller's actions had on his former classmate and ultimately renounced his rights.

Miller admitted in court in 2016 that he bullied Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, who grew up with him in Ohio. Meyer-Crothers said Miller frequently called him the N-word and "brownie," while harassing him for years. In one of the incidents, Miller and another classmate tricked Meyer-Crothers into eating a piece of candy they had wiped along the inside of a urinal.

"He pretended to be my friend and made me do things I didn't want to do," Meyer-Crothers said in October 2020. "In junior high, I got beat up by him. … Everyone thinks he's so cool that he gets to go to the NHL, but I don't see how someone can be cool when you pick on someone and bully someone your entire life."

Meyer-Crothers' mother, Joni, said at the time that Miller had never apologized to her son outside of a court-mandated letter.

On Friday, Joni told sports podcaster and color analyst Guy Flaming that Miller has since tried to contact Meyer-Crothers on Instagram to apologize while also informing him that the attempted amendment had "nothing to do with hockey."

General manager Don Sweeney told reporters Friday that the team has not spoken to the Meyer-Crothers family but that the Bruins were involved in getting Miller to reach out to his former peer, according to WEEI's Scott McLaughlin.

Sweeney also said the signing could be the "wrong" choice and that some Bruins players asked "Why?" when they were informed of the team's plans to bring in Miller.

The executive added that the decision was a "personal and professional struggle" and the team is going to hold Miller to "a standard," according to the Boston Globe's Matt Porter.

Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron spoke with Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman on Friday about the signing.

"I was on the fence," Bergeron said. "I think as a person but also as a team we stand for, you know, integrity, inclusion, and diversity, obviously. That was the first thing that I guess came out of my mouth was it goes against a little bit of what we are as a culture, as a team, and for me as a person.

"I've been told lately that he's working hard to make some changes to, hopefully, make those bad decisions in the past help others to not do that. And for me, I think the work is on him."

Miller, who spent last season with the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, said he made an "extremely poor decision and acted very immaturely" in the Bruins' press release announcing the signing.

"I bullied one of my classmates. I deeply regret the incident and have apologized to the individual," he said. "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."

Both Miller and Bruins president Cam Neely said the 20-year-old will continue to participate in educational and community programs.

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