The president of the Boston Bruins says the team “failed” to sign the controversial pick



CNN

Boston Bruins president Cam Neely apologized and said the team “failed” by signing prospect Mitchell Miller.

The National Hockey League (NHL) deemed Miller ineligible to join the team due to a bullying incident the player was involved in as a teenager. Boston signed Miller to an entry-level contract on Friday and waived it on Sunday.

“I’m very disappointed that a lot of people were unhappy with our decision,” Neely said at a news conference Monday. “I’m proud of the Bruins organization and what we stand for, and we failed.

“We like to take pride in what we do in the community and hold ourselves accountable,” Neely said. “We dropped the ball and I’m here to apologize for that.”

Miller was convicted at age 14 of a bullying incident in which he and another teenager, black classmate Isaiah Meyers-Crothers, were tricked into eating candy placed in a urinal, a report in the Arizona Republic revealed.

Miller and another teenager admitted to the harassment in an Ohio juvenile court and were sentenced to community service, according to The Republic.

Neely also apologized to Meyers-Crothers and her family.

“I’ll say it again. I want to apologize to Isaiah and his family,” Neely said. “It’s something they don’t have to keep going through.”

CNN reached out to Miller’s representatives, 02K Management, but they were not immediately available for a response.

In a statement Posted on Twitter on Sunday, Miller’s agent Eustace King said, “The decision to take on Mitchell Miller as a client was not one taken lightly by 02K Sports Management.

“As one of the few Black NHL agents in the league, as a member of the NHL’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and as a Black man who has spent his entire life in hockey, I understand the gravity of the situation and respect the strong emotions and reactions to the initial reports and comments about Mr. Miller’s past behavior.

O2K Sports Management would not have agreed to replace Mitchell without further investigation, discussion, introspection and conversations with outside counsel within our organization.

“Additionally, in deliberating whether to replace Mitchell, we learned that over the past six years Mitchell has volunteered with several organizations: Spread the Word Campaign, Small Miracles, Ohio Adaptive Sports, Plan for the Stars.”

The Bruins said they were aware of Miller’s conviction, but offered him a contract because the team “believed the harassment was an isolated incident and that he had taken meaningful steps to reform.” …”

Miller was fired based on the new information, Neely said Sunday. When asked Monday what the new information was, Neely said, “It was troubling to me that he didn’t talk to the family.”

Neely said he plans to contact the family.

Asked why the organization didn’t contact the family before the signing, Neely said, “That’s a great question. Something I need to find.’

Neely also explained why the team decided to sign Miller.

“The timing was never, probably good,” he said. “It got to the point, whether we’re doing it or not, and we’ve made the wrong decision.

“I believe in second chances, but maybe some people don’t deserve it. In this situation I don’t say it specifically, but I believe in second chances.”

“From everything I’ve heard, he was working on himself, working on self-improvement programs,” Neely said. “I had the impression that he was a 14-year-old kid who made a very, very bad decision and did terrible things, and he’s 20 now. I had the impression that, in the last six years, he had worked hard for himself.”

Neely said he had not spoken to Miller about the team’s decision to let him go.