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COYOTES TOP DRAFT PICK WAS CONVICTED FOR BULLYING BLACK, MENTALLY DISABLED TEENAGER

Less than a month ago, the Arizona Coyotes proudly announced at the 2020 NHL draft that they were selecting defenceman Mitchell Miller in the fourth-round (111th overall). While that pick didn’t garner much attention at the time, it certainly is beginning to now. The 18-year-old has admitted to bullying an African American classmate with developmental disabilities. This comes just a month after the team said their chief executive had been selected to an elite National Hockey League committee that pledged to stop racism.

Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, the Black student, was reportedly in disbelief when he learned the Coyotes had selected Miller. After all, it was just four years ago that Miller admitted in an Ohio juvenile court to bullying Meyer-Crothers. One such incident included tricking him into licking a candy push pop that Miller and another student had wiped in a bathroom urinal. As a result, Meyer-Crothers had to be tested for hepatitis, HIV, and STDs, though the tests came back negative.

Meyer-Crothers, who is also 18, said Miller often called him “brownie” and the “N-word” repeatedly while hitting him growing up in the Toledo suburb. Other students have backed up these claims to local police.

“He pretended to be my friend and made me do things I didn’t want to do,” Meyer-Crothers said in a phone interview. “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.”

Despite not being selected until the fourth-round, Miller was the Coyotes first pick as they had traded their third-round selection and gotten their first two picks taken away by the NHL for violating the league’s combine testing policy. While the team has not done any interviews explaining the draft pick, they did release the following statement.

“Our fundamental mission is to ensure a safe environment – whether in schools, in our community, in hockey rinks, or in the workplace – to be free of bullying and racism. When we first learned of Mitchell’s story, it would have been easy for us to dismiss him – many teams did. Instead, we felt it was our responsibility to be a part of the solution in a real way – not just saying and doing the right things ourselves but ensuring that others are too,” the statement said.



While he has not spoken on this yet, it will be interesting to see what Mitchell has to say about the awful incident. In one perspective, he was just 14-years-old at the time, but in another, this type of behavior is unacceptable regardless of one’s age. The main hope here is that Meyer-Crothers is able to get past the awful things that happened to him as a teenager.


COLTON PANKIW
OCTOBER 26, 2020  (12H51)
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