After receiving a bunch of negative attention and bad press, the Arizona Coyotes have renounced their first draft pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, Mitchell Miller. They cited other reasons than the above, of course. But the cynic in me can’t help but think Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez retrofitted an explanation of why they drafted this kid even after knowing about his abusive past.
“We have decided to renounce the rights to Mitchell Miller, effective immediately,” said Coyotes’ President & CEO Xavier Gutierrez. “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-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. 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.”
There is something about that last line “…can pursue his dream of becoming an NHL player elsewhere,” that really gets me. It assumes that Miller has earned the privilege of playing in the NHL. Just because someone has a talent that may lead them to playing in the NHL doesn’t mean that they’ve really earned it. It is not a right, it’s a privilege and until teams look at players and consider the consequences of past bad behaviour, we’re still going to have this problem in hockey culture.
Some comments on Twitter seemed to spout the usual lines of “virtual signalling” and “cancel culture”, citing that we’ve gone too far in cancelling 18 year olds for what they did when they were 14. No, this isn’t cancelling someone; it’s making sure they know the consequences of their actions and making them improve themselves before being handed what could be considered a reward: an NHL career.
Seems official now. And let’s be clear, Mitchell Miller has not been cancelled. It actually may be the first time he’s suffered consequences for his behavior.
— FatouFIERCE (@FatouSadio) October 29, 2020
Some advice for young Mitchell Miller:
1. Don’t be racist
2. Don’t be an asshole to others
3. Don’t abuse people physically, mentally, or sexually
4. Don’t look down on others just because you think you’re better than them. You aren’t
5. Start learning about different minority groups and how they’ve been oppressed
6. Start working with people who have developmental disabilities. Volunteer for Special Olympics. It’s a life changer.
7. Stop focusing on yourself and how you’ve been wronged. Focus on how to change your negative qualities (racism, abuse) to better function in society
8. Fucking apologize already to Isaiah Meyer-Crothers and his family
I hope that some other team doesn’t sign him (after he’s done with college) until he has demonstrated that he is not a piece of shit.
It’s time for a palate cleanser.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 29, 2020
It’s clear that none of these guys have watched Sesame Street recently or ever. that’s not fair; I’d be hard pressed to come up with witty things to say as a character from the show.