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Lightning Round: Mother of bullying victim pens letter to Arizona Coyotes, Mitchell Miller

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She is still looking for an apology and signs of remorse for her son.

2020 NHL Draft - Round 2-7
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 07: Assistant general manager Steve Sullivan of the Arizona Coyotes attends rounds 2-7 of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft at Gila River Arena on October 07, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. The 2020 NHL Draft was held virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Photo by River Demson/NHLI via Getty Images

To put it plainly, the Arizona Coyotes knew that their top draft pick had admitted in court to bullying a developmentally disabled Black classmate, knew he had not shown any signs of remorse from those heinous acts, and drafted him in the fourth round anyway.

In 2016, Miller was sentenced by a juvenile court for assault and violating the Ohio Safe Schools act due to his bullying and abusing of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers. He pretended to be Isaiah’s friend, coerced him to do things, including lick a candy push pop that Miller had wiped in a bathroom urinal, called him racial slurs, and reportedly smashed his head against a wall for good measure. During the trial, while Miller’s accomplice had apologized and shown tangible signs of remorse, Miller showed none. He never apologized to Isaiah, though he did pen an apology to the NHL teams he was hoping to be employed by, like they needed it.

Isaiah’s mom, Joni, wrote a letter to the Coyotes after they drafted Miller. It was then shared with The Athletic.

Not only was Mitchell Miller drafted by the Coyotes, but he has a scholarship to the University of North Dakota, a school that also knew about the past he has yet to apologize for. There are so many parts to this story, and they get worse and worse the more we learn. He never apologized, the judge wrote in his statement that Miller never showed any sign of remorse during the trial, only wishing for it to be over for his own sake. Two years after the trial, Miller was caught intimidating Isaiah from the street in their neighborhood. So he bullied and abused a Black classmate with developmental disabilities at 14, sentenced by a court of law for his actions, intimidated his victim at 16, and didn’t apologize to the person he traumatized, but instead to a hopeful employer.

Miller has insisted to the Coyotes and UND that he’s become a better person and that he’s changed. They’re the only ones he needs to convince for him to move forward in his career. But those statements ring hollow when his words and his actions are diametrically opposed. No apology, no remorse, no reparations. He doesn’t care about making amends, he only cares about keeping the privilege that leads to an NHL job and a university education. And let’s be clear, playing in the NHL is a privilege, not a right.

The Arizona Coyotes failed here. The University of North Dakota failed here. They knew everything that happened and it didn’t change their mind. They knew those letters of self improvement were self-serving, and it didn’t change their mind. The Coyotes knew drafting him would be a permanent stain on their efforts for inclusivity and diversity, but it didn’t change their mind. Mitchell Miller failed here. Failure doesn’t come with a job and a scholarship. He can’t expect forgiveness at 18 when forgiveness at 14 or 16 was never earned.

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