The Boston Bruins made one of the most controversial moves in recent NHL history on Friday. The team signed defenseman Mitchell Miller, who spent years racially and physically abusing a black disabled classmate while in school. On Sunday, the Bruins aborted the plan.
The Bruins announced Miller was no longer part of the organization, effective immediately. This move came after days of backlash on social media and from the Bruins’ own leadership group.
“Based on new information, we believe it is the best decision at this time to rescind the opportunity for Mitchell Miller to represent the Boston Bruins. We hope that he continues to work with professionals and programs to further his education and personal growth,” Bruins team president Cam Neely said in a statement on Sunday night.
The Bruins consulted team captain Patrice Bergeron, among other players, about the move. He expressed his disapproval of the move prior to the team’s loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
“To be honest with you, the culture that we’ve built here goes against that type of behavior. We’re a team that’s built something about character, character people and individuals. What he did, obviously, is unacceptable and we don’t stand by that,” Bergeron said.
The Bruins did not reach out to the victim of Miller’s abuse or his family. The team presented Miller’s behavior as a one-time thing when announcing the signing. However, Joni Meyer-Crothers, mother of the victim Isaiah, says this behavior went on for years.
“This was years and years of abuse,” she said. “The Bruins can say he made a mistake, but they need to get their whole story straight rather than minimizing what happened.”
Keeping Miller, even without the backlash, would have essentially been useless. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Saturday that Miller was not eligible for the NHL, and likely never would be.