On Monday, The Arizona Republic posted an interview with victim Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, who said he was dismayed when he learned the Coyotes selected Miller in the draft. The two grew up together in a suburb of Toledo, Ohio, and Meyer-Crothers, who is Black and has developmental disabilities, said Miller used to hit him and also called him “brownie” and the “N word.”
There also was an incident in which Miller manipulated Meyer-Crothers into licking a candy push pop that Miller and another youth had wiped in a bathroom urinal.
“He pretended to be my friend and made me do things I didn’t want to do,” Meyer-Crothers told the newspaper. “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.”
Miller was charged with assault and violating the Ohio Safe Schools Act in February 2016, according to The Republic. He admitted to the misdemeanor offense, was sentenced to 25 hours of community service and had to write an apology to Meyer-Crothers.
The Coyotes came under scrutiny after the Arizona Republic report and initially supported Miller. But they changed course Thursday by renouncing the draft selection. The club said it knew about the bullying incident before choosing him in the draft.
“We have decided to renounce the rights to Mitchell Miller, effective immediately,” said Xavier Gutierrez, the Coyotes president and CEO, in a team-issued statement on Thursday. “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.”
–Field Level Media