Off to the best start in team history, general manager Don Sweeney and the Boston Bruins have embroiled themselves in a nasty controversy by signing USHL defenseman Mitchell Miller to an entry-level contract.
Miller has the skills that makes him worthy of such a signing, but his past actions in bullying and abusing a classmate who was disabled makes it a cringe-worthy development. Miller’s past actions as a 14-year-old included using the N-word and other derogatory words to the student and tricking him into licking candy that had been dragged through a urinal.
Sweeney attempted to explain the team’s action. “I am not going to downplay that this has been a personal struggle as well as a professional struggle,” the general manager said.
Miller had been drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in 2020 but when the bullying incident was unearthed, the Coyotes renounced the draft pick. He was also barred from playing hockey at the University of North Dakota.
The defenseman says he has attempted to change in the years since the incident, according to a press release put out by the Bruins.
“I deeply regret the incident and have apologized to the individual,” Miller 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.”
The level of harassment makes this an incident that simply can’t be dismissed as a childish prank, and there are significant issues as to whether a full apology has been issued to the victim and his family.
Mitchell Miller played for Tri-City last year and scored 83 points in 60 games, delivering the kind of production that made the 20-year-old player attractive to the Bruins. It is a decision that they may soon regret wholeheartedly.