The Arizona Coyotes renounced the rights to their fourth-round pick in the 2020 NHL draft, Mitchell Miller, after allegations were published in a newspaper investigation that the 18-year-old defenseman was shown to have history of assault and racism while in eighth grade.
The investigation, which was published by the Arizona Republic on Oct. 26, 2020, explained that the victim, Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, who is black and also has intellectual disabilities, was racially slurred and physically attacked by Miller.
In addition, according to a police report, Meyer-Crothers had once been tricked into “licking a candy push-pop that Miller and another boy had wiped in a bathroom urinal.”
The Coyotes first told the Arizona Republic they were aware of Miller’s story and were determined to help him learn and be part of a “solution” to fight bullying and racism. However, that soon changed.
In a team issued statement on Friday, Xavier Gutierrez, Coyotes president and CEO, said: “We have decided to renounce the rights to Mitchell Miller, effective immediately. 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 behavior, 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-bulling 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. On behalf of the Arizona Coyotes ownership and our entire organization, I would like to apologize to Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family.”
Miller is scheduled to attend the University of North Dakota this year and was slated to be a member of the men’s ice hockey team. However, after what has transpired, the school dropped him from the team. He will still be permitted to attend as a student.
Y’all read this and tell me hockey doesn’t have major problems. No one else will say it but I will. A Black, or player of color would NEVER get a pass or be forgiven for something like this. EVER! https://t.co/LjqGoo28kF
Y’all read this and tell me hockey doesn’t have major problems. No one else will say it but I will. A Black, or player of color would NEVER get a pass or be forgiven for something like this. EVER! https://t.co/LjqGoo28kF— Akim Aliu (@Dreamer_Aliu78) October 26, 2020
“It hurt my heart to be honest,” Meyer-Crothers said. “It’s stupid that they (Coyotes) didn’t go back and look what happened in the past, but I can’t do anything about it.”