Arizona Coyotes renounce draft pick Mitchell Miller over past racist bullying

'We do not condone this type of behavior but embraced this as a teachable moment.'

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The Arizona Coyotes renounced the rights to draft pick Mitchell Miller after he admitted to bullying a developmentally disabled, Black classmate four years ago.

Miller’s relentless harassment of Isaiah Meyer-Crothers landed him in juvenile court at age 18 in 2016, and he was convicted after pleading guilty to racist “bullying,” CBS Sports reports. Miller confessed to tricking Meyer-Crothers into licking a push pop that he and another teen wiped on a urinal. He also used racial slurs on his victim and referred to him as the “N-word.”

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The Coyotes selected Miller in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL Draft, as the 111th overall pick, on Oct. 7. The team responded to the report about his hostile past with a statement from president and CEO Xavier Gutierrez

“We have decided to renounce the rights to Mitchell Miller, effective immediately. 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,” the statement reads.

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Gutierrez also apologized to Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family.

“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. On behalf of the Arizona Coyotes ownership and our entire organization, I would like to apologize to Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family,” Gutierrez said

Many sports fans and social media users find it quite disturbing that every team knew about Miller’s bullying case and didn’t remove him from their draft lists. Critics say this highlights that there are still major, underlying issues in the NHL. 

Many on Twitter noted that the Arizona Coyotes did not renounce Miller because he bullied a Black kid with disabilities, they did it because the public found out about it. 

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