The Boston Bruins enlisted former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct an independent review of their player vetting process after signing prospect Mitchell Miller and parting ways with him two days later amid intense backlash.
The Bruins announced on Tuesday that Lynch, of the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, will “conduct an independent review of our player review process” and ensure that “our future process reflects our core values.”
Boston said it will fully cooperate with the review and make the results public upon completion.
“The Boston Bruins strive every day to live our values and meet the high standards our employees, fans and community have come to expect,” the Bruins said in a statement released Tuesday. “This includes treating everyone inside and outside our organization with dignity and respect. We recently fell short of our high standards and disappointed both ourselves and many in our community.”
The Bruins signed Miller, a 20-year-old defenseman, to an entry-level contract on November 4 with the intention of sending him to AHL Providence. However, the team announced on November 6 that it was parting ways with Miller after stiff opposition from fans, the team’s own players, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.
Miller remains under contract with the team and is still technically a member of Providence. One of the options for the Bruins: pay Miller to stay home this season, then buy him out at the end of the year for a third of his NHL salary; or to work with Miller and the NHLPA on a settlement that would allow him to become a free agent
He was a fourth-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes in 2020, but his draft rights were given up when a story was published about how he and another high school classmate were convicted in 2016 by juvenile court of assaulting and bullying Isaiah Meyer- Crothers, a Black classmate with developmental disabilities.
In the report, Meyer-Crothers’ mother alleged that Miller began abusing her son in second grade and repeatedly used racial slurs. Miller admitted in Ohio juvenile court to using racial swear words at Meyer-Crothers, physically assaulting him, and at one point tricking him into “licking a candy that Miller and another boy swept into a bathroom urinal.” said a police officer. report.
Fans were outraged by Miller’s signing, and Bruins veterans such as Nick Foligno and Patrice Bergeron expressed disappointment. Bettman reiterated that Miller was not cleared by his office to play for the Bruins and “I can’t tell you he will ever be eligible to get into the NHL.”
On November 7, Boston president Cam Neely expressed concern over failures in the team’s vetting process in signing Miller. He cited “new information” when the team walked out on Miller on November 6. Neely said the fact that the Bruins never contacted Meyer-Crothers’ family was “concerning” and that it was “definitely” a problem with the team’s vetting process.