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COYOTES PRESIDENT AND CEO ADDRESSES MITCHELL MILLER SITUATION IN A STATEMENT

Though reports of the repulsive and reprehensible behaviour of 2020 Arizona Coyotes draftee Mitchell Miller are not exactly fresh, it has become abundantly clear that many outside of the inner-circle of the hockey community did not know of Miller's past indiscretions until today, when Arizona publication AZcentral focused the spotlight on the story.

For those who may have missed the news, Miller, a 4th round draft selection in this year's draft was involved in a series of racially motivated verbal and physical assaults on Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a developmentally-challenged African-American student, including the repeated use of racial slurs, during their time together in the Ohio public school system. A crime for which Miller and another student were convicted and sentenced to 25 hours of community service and forced to construct a written apology that would be delivered to the victim through the court system. In addition, the defendants were also responsible for paying court costs and attending court-mandated counselling.

Though this information was well known to teams and their scouts at the time of the draft, the Coyotes elected to take a chance on the 18-year-old USHL product, knowing all about these skeletons in his closet, and the potential for the pick to open up a PR whirlwind, especially given the subject of systemic racism being identified as a key issue throughout the United States and, to a lesser (but equally inexcusable) extent, within the NHL.

Coyotes CEO and Team President Xavier Gutierrez issued a statement on Monday, acknowledging that the team knew about Miller's troubled history prior to selecting him with the 111th pick, and have committed to working with the player on these issues.

“We are willing to work with Mitchell and put in the time, effort, and energy and provide him with the necessary resources and platform to confront bullying and racism,” he said in his statement.

In addition, Coyotes GM Bill Armstrong saw to it that Miller wrote letters to each NHL team, acknowledging and apologizing for his terrible actions, stemming back to the eighth-grade incidents.



“I am extremely sorry about the bullying incident that occurred in 2016 while I was in eighth grade. I was young, immature and feel terrible about my actions.

“At the time, I did not understand the gravity of my actions and how they can affect other people. I have issued an apology to the family for my behavior, completed cultural diversity and sensitivity training and volunteered within my community with organizations such as Little Miracles. Over the past four years, I have had a lot of time to reflect and grow and I am very grateful to the Arizona Coyotes for taking a chance on me. I promise not to let them down. Moving forward, I want to be a leader for this cause and help end bullying and racism,” wrote Miller, according to The Arizona Republic.

Second chances, and all that.. but this seems like a situation that the Coyotes and every other NHL team should have avoided with a ten foot pole, especially given the repetitive nature of the horrendous race-based indiscretions.

MIKE ARMENTI
OCTOBER 26, 2020  (23H42)
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