The Mitchell Miller story keeps getting worse.
Aaron Portzline of The Athletic fleshed out the details on the story originally reported by The Arizona Republic. Since that story is behind a paywall, let me just give you the important new stuff.
1. Isaiah Meyer-Crothers never received a personal or written apology from Mitchell Miller. Miller continued to intimidate Meyer-Crothers even after serving his community service by roller blading by his family home. He continues to feel the trauma of the repeated attacks because he didn’t get closure and he keep hearing about how Miller was drafted.
“He pretended to be my friend and made me do things I didn’t want to do,” Isaiah Meyer-Crothers told AZCentral 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.”
The other boy who participated in assaulting Meyer-Crothers, has apologized in person and he forgave him.
2. Joni Meyer-Crothers, Isaiah’s adoptive mother, considered writing a letter to all 31 of the NHL teams prior to the draft to let them know that Miller never apologized nor seemed remorseful for his actions. She felt it was important for a league that is trying to change their culture and how they treat BIPOC within it’s ranks to know exactly what kind of character Miller had or rather, lacked. She never sent the letter to all 31 teams but she did send a note directly to the Coyotes after the draft.
Hello – I’m the mother of the boy that Mitchell Miller bullied. I read the statements made by the GM (Bill Armstrong) etc. and find them demeaning to our son. Are you aware Mitchell NEVER apologized to our son? Are you aware two years ago he still taunted him? Are you aware this went on for years? Do you understand the mental damage Mitchell did to our son?
I respect you stating he sent all the NHL teams an apology, but wouldn’t it make sense if he was truly remorseful to send a letter to the kid that he brutally bullied both mentally and physically? Is it a surprise he sent all the NHL teams a letter because this was for his betterment?
I guess as an organization and NHL team I would expect so much more and hold them to a higher standard, especially with all the (Black Lives Matter) movement. As much as we pray Mitchell will eventually see the damage he did to our son, we have seen no remorse. The other gentleman had a sincere apology to our son and our son forgave him. The magistrate said it best: “Mitchell, I don’t think you are remorseful for what you did more than you are upset for the negative attention you are getting.”
Again, the bully incident that continued over years has damaged our son mentally significantly and your organization is more concerned about Mitchell and your hockey success. In my opinion, that is being part of the problem. There is a victim out there that was and still at the hands of your 111th pick.
3. Miller did write letters to each of the 31 teams and even had character references from coaches and billet families. He even had some Zoom calls with teams, which didn’t help his case for drafting.
“My family, coaches, friends, and teammates have helped me to mature and become someone who is not defined by this mistake, but has accepted it and now make (sic) choices to be a better person than I was when I was a kid,” the letter read. “I’m a different person than I was four years ago and I am thankful to have learned a very painful and valuable lesson.”
But it didn’t convince some clubs. Others arranged Zoom calls with Miller that left them feeling unconvinced of his remorse.
“Based on hockey alone, he’s a player that 31 teams would have drafted,” one executive told The Athletic. “We just decided we weren’t going to draft him. It wasn’t worth it on so many fronts. It was an easy decision for us, based on what we know.”
4. When he was sentenced, the juvenile magistrate believed that Miller didn’t understand how he should behave.
But along with the sentencing came an unusual admonition from juvenile magistrate William Hutcheson:
“Mitchell, I’m not sure you still get it,” Hutcheson said, according to courtroom reports from the Toledo Blade. “I don’t think you like being where you are. But I still don’t think you’ve put yourself in the shoes of not just the one victim but numerous victims. No one should come to school and feel humiliated or intimidated.
“If this is what you do in school, I wonder what you do outside of school? You’re supposed to be on your best behavior in school. So if this is an example of your best behavior, I wonder what your worst behavior is. I don’t have a sense of real remorse. But I do feel that you feel sorry for yourself.”
Arizona and North Dakota have decided to take on this kid and hope to improve his character. Good luck with that.