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Sport Arizona Coyotes cut ties with controversial draft pick Mitchell Miller

00:10  30 october  2020
00:10  30 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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The Arizona Coyotes renounced their rights to their top draft pick after saying they learned more about his bullying of a black classmate four years The team parted ways with Mitchell Miller , 18, after taking criticism for selecting him despite already knowing of his 2016 assault conviction in Ohio.

Reports have surfaced that Mitchell Miller , the Coyotes ' top pick in 2020, was convicted in 2016 of bullying a Black, mentally disabled classmate. Shortly after their chief executive was selected to an NHL committee assembled to fight racism in the sport, the Arizona Coyotes used their first draft pick

The Arizona Coyotes on Thursday renounced the rights to Mitchell Miller, their first draft pick of this month's NHL Draft, following an Arizona Republic examination into Miller's harassment of a developmentally disabled African-American classmate four years ago.

a person sitting at a table in front of a store: Mitchell Miller, a freshman at North Dakota, awaits word that the Arizona Coyotes selected him in the 2020 NHL Draft. © Russ Hons, UND Athletics Mitchell Miller, a freshman at North Dakota, awaits word that the Arizona Coyotes selected him in the 2020 NHL Draft.

The selection of Miller, 18 and now playing hockey at the University of North Dakota, was widely criticized after the Republic on Monday detailed Miller's bullying and racist taunting of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers when the two were 14 years old in Sylvania, Ohio. The club issued an apology to the Meyer-Crothers family.

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Reports have surfaced that Mitchell Miller , the Coyotes ' top pick in 2020, was convicted in 2016 of bullying a Black, mentally disabled classmate. Shortly after their chief executive was selected to an NHL committee assembled to fight racism in the sport, the Arizona Coyotes used their first draft pick

Top Arizona Coyotes draft pick Mitchell Miller has responded to media reports of an incident in which he admitted to bullying a Black, developmentally challenged classmate four years ago. During the appalling incident in question — which Craig Harris and Jose M. Romero of the Arizona Republic

Meyer-Crothers on Thursday said he took no joy in seeing Miller cut.

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"It's unfortunate. I'm sad it had to come down to it. I wish none of this had happened," Meyer-Crothers said in a phone interview. "There's nothing to be happy about. He's a good player, and deserves to be in the NHL."

Efforts to reach Miller were unsuccessful. His father, John, said in a brief phone interview that the family had no comment at this time.

Meyer-Crothers and his mother, Joni, shared their story after The Republic contacted them.

Isaiah Meyer-Crothers said all he ever wanted was an apology from Miller. He noted that had Miller not bullied him and tricked him into licking candy that Miller and another teen had placed in a urinal, his former classmate would still be a NHL draft pick.

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The details of Arizona Coyotes ’ top draft pick Mitchell Miller bullying and racially abusing Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, a Black, mentally disabled teen, are harrowing. As first reported by the Arizona Republic, Miller admitted in an Ohio juvenile court in 2016 to bullying Meyer-Crothers

[The Athletic] Coyotes draft pick Mitchell Miller 's bullying past was known (Excerpt in comments). Mitchell Miller , 14, appeared in court with his attorney, Kati Tharp, and parents, John and Shelli [–] GrizzilkARI - NHL 39 points40 points41 points 16 hours ago (2 children). Publicly cut ties with him

The Coyotes on Monday had doubled-down on picking Miller and issued a statement that said it was the team's "responsibility to be a part of the solution in a real way — not just saying and doing the right things to ourselves but ensuring that others are too."

However, the team faced an avalanche of criticism on social media as well as media outlets across the United States and Canada.

The pick of Miller also came after the franchise, since late July, had their general manager quit on the eve of the post season, were tardy in paying players bonuses and per diem, lost their last two games by a combined score of 14-2 and are late with their rent money at Gila River Arena. Further, the team lost the second pick in this year's draft for violating NHL rules.

Also, the team chose Miller one month after Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez was named to the NHL's Executive Inclusion Council, a group the league said will focus on combating racism and fostering diversity in the sport.

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Miller was convicted of bullying a developmentally disabled, Black classmate four years ago in high school. A few weeks later, the team used its first draft pick on Mitchell Miller , a player with a significant Some will argue that the Coyotes drafting this kid should be viewed in a positive light.

Phoenix, Arizona . @ ArizonaCoyotes top pick Mitchell Miller tricked disabled Black kid to lick candy push pop that Miller put in urinal. Here’s the police report, a public record the @ ArizonaCoyotes could have obtained prior to draftpic.twitter.com/DDKdyG1ecQ.

And the choice came during a year when systemic racism has spurred national civil unrest, including protests across America following the death of George Floyd in May after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.

COYOTES: Criticized by fans, media for drafting player convicted of bullying

OPINION: Coyotes became their own worst enemy by drafting Miller

OPINION: Coyotes have no excuse for drafting player who admitted to racial abuse

Gutierrez and General Manager Bill Armstrong, who was not involved in drafting Miller, called Joni Meyer-Crothers on Thursday to apologize prior to cutting ties with the player.

"They just said they wanted to apologize and they said they didn't do their due diligence and wanted to know if there was anything they could do for our family," she said. "I said, 'No.' There is nothing they can do. … They said it was no excuse and they messed up."

Armstrong issued a statement through the Coyotes, saying the club was going through a transition in their scouting department right before Miller was selected. The Coyotes made several moves in that department after Armstrong was hired, and draft preparation had largely been completed at that point.

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NHL draft pick Mitchell Miller under fire for bullying black, disabled classmate. The Arizona Coyotes and their top pick in the 2020 NHL Draft , Mitchell Miller , find themselves under scrutiny after the 18-year-old defenseman was found to have bullied an African-American classmate with

The top draft pick for the Arizona Coyotes , whose CEO is in a NHL group to stop racism, was convicted of bullying a Black disabled kid four years ago. Lane Kiffin rants about secrecy among SEC refs after controversial Ole Miss-Auburn call.

"Mitchell is a good hockey player, but we need to do the right thing as an organization and not just as a hockey team. I'd like to apologize to Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family for everything they have dealt with the past few months. I wish them all the best in the future," Armstrong said.

Joni Meyer-Crothers said she was sick to her stomach when she found out Miller was cut, but he still has not personally apologized to her son or family.

"It's a very sad situation all the way around," she said. "And now we are getting threats from hockey families in Sylvania."

A police report obtained by The Republic detailed incidents of bullying and harassment, and in an interview with The Republic, Meyer-Crothers relived the racist and physical abuse he suffered from Miller.

Miller was ordered by a judge to issue an apology to the family, which he did, but the family said it never received it.

"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," Gutierrez said in a statement from the Coyotes.

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He said he Coyotes had since found out more about Miller.

"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."

The renouncing of Miller's rights means the team has cut all ties with the player. Miller was never signed to a contract nor given a bonus of any kind.

The Coyotes, in their statement announcing the Miller decision, pledged to work with organizations such as Best Buddies, One Step Beyond and the American Special Hockey Association to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

They also said they will partner with local non-profit organizations fighting bullying and racism.

Get in touch with Jose Romero at Jose.Romero@gannett.com. Find him on Twitter at @RomeroJoseM. Craig Harris can be reached at craig.harris@arizonarepublic. com or on Twitter at @charrisazrep.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona Coyotes cut ties with controversial draft pick Mitchell Miller

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