The Arizona Coyotes are renouncing their rights to top 2020 draft pick Mitchell Miller after they learned he bullied a Black classmate with disabilities in 2016.
The Arizona Republic published a story earlier this week that revealed Miller, 18, and another teen were charged with assault and violated the Ohio Safe Schools Act for their racist behavior against Isaiah Meyer-Crothers.
The Coyotes, who selected Miller in the fourth round (111th overall) of the draft on October 7, responded to the Republic’s story with a statement from team president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez, renouncing the rights to the player.
“We have decided to renounce the rights to Mitchell Miller, effective immediately,” said Gutierrez in a statement.
“Prior to selecting Mitchell in the NHL Draft, we were aware that a bullying incident took place in 2016. We do not condone this type of behaviour but embraced this as a teachable moment to work with Mitchell to make him accountable for his actions and provide him with an opportunity to be a leader on anti-bullying and anti-racism efforts. We have learned more about the entire matter, and more importantly, the impact it has had on Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family. What we learned does not align with the core values and vision for our organization and leads to our decision to renounce our draft rights.”
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Gutierrez continued, “On behalf of the Arizona Coyotes ownership and our entire organization, I would like to apologize to Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family. We are building a model franchise on and off the ice and will do the right thing for Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family, our fans and our partners. Mr. Miller is now a free agent and can pursue his dream of becoming an NHL player elsewhere.”
Miller has not released a statement. However, according to The Arizona Republic, he issued a court-mandated apology after proof was provided of his behavior in police reports, but showed a lack of remorse toward the family of the victim. In a video that was never released, Miller was reportedly “smashing Isaiah’s head against a brick wall.”
Isaiah’s family decided against releasing the video, fearing it would further traumatize him.