Boston Bruins say review found ‘no fault’ in botched Mitchell Miller signing

The Boston Bruins said Thursday that an internal review led by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch into the organization’s failure to properly review the signing of toxic prospect Mitchell Miller has failed. revealed « no fault » on the part of the team’s leaders. Instead, the review provided a series of specific recommendations to implement to prevent the same mistake from happening again.

It means there will be no discipline for the team bosses responsible for the signing, despite the report acknowledging « shortcomings in the club’s procedures ».

The Bruins called it an “independent review,” which was led by Lynch and the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison – although the review was initiated and paid for by the organization of Bruins, which does not. truly « independent ».

The team’s press release said « management and employees of the Bruins cooperated fully » and included interviews and review of « thousands of documents and communications relating to Miller’s signing. » The exact findings and substance of these interviews and documents have not been made public, as other teams have done following internal reviews, such as the Chicago Blackhawks with the Kyle Beach sexual assault .

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The Bruins signed Miller, 21, to an entry-level, three-year contract Nov. 4. He had already been waived as the Arizona Coyotes’ draft pick after it emerged that Miller had been convicted in juvenile court on physical, mental and racial grounds. abuse of a black classmate with an intellectual disability at the age of 14.

Within hours of Miller’s signing, the Bruins received significant pushback from their own players, fans, business partners and even the NHL commissioner’s office over the decision. Commissioner Gary Bettman said Miller was ineligible to play in the league. The story was further unraveled when a statement from Miller’s agent, Eustace King of O2K Sports, was set apart for inaccuracies and falsehoods.

Two days after signing Miller, the Bruins released a statement Nov. 6 saying they « have decided to part ways » with Miller. To date, Miller remains under contract with the Bruins and has earned over $116,000.

The victim, Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, and his family expressed himself in the days following Miller’s signing, saying, « It hurts my heart what he did to me… I can’t take it anymore. » Bruins president Cam Neely publicly apologized to Meyer-Crothers and also spoke to Meyer-Crothers’ mother, who provided further insight into the situation.

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Why the Bruins did not contact the Meyer-Crothers family prior to the decision to sign him as part of the due diligence process is one of the reasons the review was commissioned. The Bruins have pledged to review their player verification process to ensure the process moving forward « reflects our core values. »

According to the Bruins, the review recommended a series of specific actions:

• Establish clear written policies for verifying off-ice conduct, including identification of red flags requiring detailed verification and documented resolution

• Establish clear timelines and responsibilities within the organization for investigating prospect community or other off-ice engagements

• Establish centralized verification documentation to include reporting of red flags and off-ice issues and ensure this documentation is available to all stakeholders involved in the process

• Establish a tracking system to ensure that responsibilities for all verification tasks are clearly assigned and tracked.

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• Use independent third-party resources to investigate and resolve factual issues when reviewing red flags

• Determine if there are any specific training or rehabilitation programs the prospect should attend based on the nature of the red flags.

The Bruins said Thursday they will implement the recommended changes « immediately. » The next step will be figuring out how they will officially sever ties with Miller, who remains under contract. Since the contract has been officially registered by the NHL, they could make a buyout this summer, try to work out a settlement with Miller and the NHL Players Association, or plead a case to unilaterally terminate the contract, which who might encounter resistance since his track record has been well reported.


For background reading, see Matt Larkin’s Nov. 7 column: « With Mitchell Miller, the Boston Bruins embarrassed themselves – and insulted our intelligence. »

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