CNN Holds "Racist" 8th Grader's Feet to the Fire
So a couple of days ago, I saw a headline at SI.com What were the Coyotes thinking when they drafted Mitchell Miller?
I do not follow hockey as closely as I used to, so potential NHL draft pick Mitchell Miller wasn't on my radar. I do know that the Arizona Coyotes are one of the worst 2 or 3 franchises in the NHL. I also know that the Coyote Franchise should have been moved back to Canada in 2019 (or 2014), either to Hamilton, Quebec City, Saskatoon, or as the second Toronto franchise. But I digress.
So since the Coyote Franchise has been making bad decisions since Wayne Gretzky left in 2009 and Gary Bettman has been making bad decisions regarding the Coyote Franchise since forever, I decided NOT to read SI's Mitchell Miller article.
Then, yesterday, I saw this headline at CNN.com NHL's Coyotes sever ties with Top Draft Pick who admitted to bullying Black classmate with disabilities. Again, I didn't know the case, I only read the two headlines. Before I even read one sentence of either article, I put two and two together and thought Mitchell Miller was a terrible human being. What kind of college kid bullies a disabled kid? That's terrible, he should be in jail.
Finally, I actually read the whole CNN article. The insinuations of the headlines were proven misleading. Some time around Miller's 2015-2016 hockey season, Eighth Grader Mitchell Miller of his U-14 regional travel team "and another teen were accused of tricking Isaiah Meyers-Crothers into eating candy that had been placed in a urinal and physically assaulting him. Miller and another teen admitted to the bullying in an Ohio juvenile court and were sentenced to community service, according to the Republic." -CNN
What happened then? Not reported by CNN, but can easily be found at eliteprospects.com, Mitchell Miller then played for his regional USA U-15 development team.
Then a USA U-16 development team.
Then a USA U-17 development team.
Then a USA U-18 development team.
Then a USA U-19 development team.
He also played for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and the Tri-City Storm of the USHL.
He also was accepted by the University of North Dakota and would be playing right now if not for the coronavirus outbreak.
The Arizona Republic reported the attack from when Miller was in 8th grade, again let me repeat that, in 8th grade, earlier this week. SI.com picked up the story, as did a few other outlets, and then CNN picked the narrative up yesterday as proof that the United States is a racist nation. Based on a white hockey player harassing a Black special needs student (the racial component is right in the headline), when he was in 8th grade.
Now don't get me wrong, with the limited information released to the public, Miller probably should have received more than community service. How severe was the physical assault? Doesn't say. How prolonged was the bullying? Doesn't say. Was the incident at school or at a hockey function? Doesn't say. Were there multiple incidents? Doesn't say.
The only details given was basically that there was in fact bullying, the races of the students, and the Mom of the victim didn't like the apology that her son received. Somehow Miller's history didn't matter to 8 or 9 different junior teams, one of the best hockey colleges in America (UND), or the Arizona Coyotes. Have there been more incidents with any of these teams? Doesn't say.
Mitchell Miller was the 111th player taken in the fourth round of the NHL Draft, hardly a player even a die hard hockey fan would be talking about this week. The Coyotes released Miller after the SI.com story broke, knowing that CNN was about to publish their story. Immediately afterward, the University of North Dakota kicked Miller off of the school's hockey team.
Just 2 months after the NHL joined other major North American sports leagues in a strike protesting the Jacob Blake shooting, it doesn't want to be associated with any athletes even remotely associated with racism. Which is noble on the surface, but now you have just condemned an 18 year old athlete in a trial by media based on his actions as a 13 year old kid. The trial was swift and Mitchell Miller was cancelled in a 48 hour period.
Maybe Miller was a rotten kid. Maybe Miller was a good kid hanging out with rotten apples. I sure would've liked to know more details. Doesn't matter, the national media just ruined his life.
SI.com, just hours ago, published a follow up article and Ken Cambpell verified what this Miller story is all about.
"And perhaps the reason Mitch Miller did not show remorse was that people in hockey kept making excuses for him and allowing him the privilege of playing for them because he was talented enough to make their teams better. "
Ahhh, Mr. Cambell said the magic word. We have a sportswriter advancing the Privilege angle of the story. Mitchell Miller grew up in the White, Upper-Middle Class Suburb of Sylvania, Ohio. Did Cambpell actually interview Miller? No. Any of the junior teams he played for? No. He talked to a scout who said Miller didn't show enough remorse for what he did in 8th grade. Something he's probably been asked about 100 times since he went to juvenile court. The SCOUTS Cambpell talked to said that drafting Miller would be problematic with the Hockey Diversity Alliance issue.
What's the Hockey Diversity Alliance? Now we're not talking about hockey anymore.....