Isaiah Meyer-Crothers Releases Statement on Mitchell Miller Signing

As previously discussed in, “Mitchell Miller: Signed and Released in a Flash,” the Boston Bruins signed and released defenseman Mitchell Miller within a matter of two days. The Bruins faced significant public backlash as result of the signing from internal members of the organization, players, and the general public.[1] Two days after signing Miller to an entry-level contract, the Bruins announced they would be parting ways with Miller.

For the first time since Miller was signed on Friday, November 4, Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, the victim of years of bullying at the hands of Miller, spoke about Miller.[2] Through the Hockey Diversity Alliance, Meyer-Crothers sent a heartbreaking letter to Akim Aliu, the Hockey Diversity Alliance Chair, on Wednesday, November 9. The statement was released in a tweet, which has a link to it included below:

In the statement, Meyer-Crothers went on to discuss the gruesome bullying he went through at the hands of Miller. Meyer-Crothers was repeatedly called racial slurs and assaulted by Miller throughout his time in school, ultimately resulting in the conviction of Miller in juvenile court. In his letter, Meyer-Crothers said he started receiving daily text messages in October until he answered Snapchat and Instagram messages from Miller. According to Meyer-Crothers, Miller apologized and said the apology was not hockey related, while also saying he was doing community work and wanted to be Meyer-Crothers’s friend. When asked for proof, Miller was unable to provide any proof, and Meyer-Crothers said he does not believe Miller, given his past of lying. Meyer-Crothers continued to say that he has been receiving hateful messages on social media. He ended his statement by saying, “Mitchell isn’t my friend. It hurts my heart what he did to me. So I just wanted to tell everyone — when Mitchell says we’re friends it isn’t true. I can’t take more of this.”

Joni Meyer-Crothers, Isaiah’s mother, said the family was blindsided by the signing, stating that the Bruins had not reached out beforehand. She said, “The biggest thing people need to know is it’s not a one-time thing. It was years and years and years of abuse and torment. Our son is an emotional mess at the hands of Mitchell. I’m so thankful the organization wants to help Mitchell. But you’re forgetting that there’s a victim that is traumatized for the rest of his life. What are we doing for him? Because he doesn’t have a hockey talent, his life isn’t as significant? That’s how we kind of feel.”

The Hockey Diversity Alliance said in a statement on Tuesday, November 8 that Miller’s agent contacted its members to solicit their approval of the signing. The group said it “emphatically declined”, adding that it was not consulted by the Bruins prior to the signing. 

The Bruins currently do not have a lot of options as it pertains to Miller’s contract. As it stands, the Bruins are still on the hook for Miller’s contract. An article outlined three scenarios with regards to how the Miller contract might be handled: buyout, settlement, or a full termination of the contract.[3]

If the Bruins were to buyout Miller’s contract, there would be a salary cap charge of $287,222 through 2027, which is twice the length of Miller’s entry-level deal. In this case, the Bruins would still owe Miller his contract money for the 2022-23 season, which would likely consist of his $95,000 signing bonus and $82,500 minor-league salary.

Under the second scenario, a settlement would allow Miller to become a free agent, worked on in conjunction with the NHLPA and Miller’s agent. Despite being assigned to the AHL and having no NHL experience, a potential settlement regarding Miller’s contract would fall under the jurisdiction of the NHLPA. It also may be unlikely that Miller would agree to a settlement that would make him a free agent, given the low probability that another team would sign him.

Finally, if the Bruins were to terminate Miller’s contract due to Miller’s past behavior, similar to what the San Jose Sharks did with Evander Kane, the NHLPA would likely file a grievance on behalf of Miller. The NHLPA would also reportedly file a grievance if the Bruins opted to suspend Miller for the length of the contract without pay. In the case of Kane’s contract termination, he received a one-time lump-sum payment from the Sharks, which could be the same for Miller if the Bruins were to terminate his contract. 

As noted, the Bruins do not have many options when it comes to Miller’s contract. This will be an interesting situation to monitor as more information is released about how the contract will be handled. However, it is clear that this is a very delicate situation and the Bruins will have to exhaust all avenues to come to a determination of how to handle the contract and all the public criticism that is likely to follow. 




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