BOSTON — The victim of Mitchell Miller's bullying has released his first statement since the controversial prospect was signed -- and then had his contract rescinded -- by the Boston Bruins.
This is also the first time since Miller, from Sylvania, Ohio, was initially picked by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft that Isaiah Meyer-Crothers himself has addressed the bullying.
Miller pleaded guilty at age 14 to one count of assault and one count of violation of the Ohio Safe Schools Act following an incident in 8th grade at McCord Junior High, which led to Miller's 2016 juvenile conviction in Lucas County Juvenile Court. The charges were filed by Sylvania police.
Miller and another teenager were convicted for making 14-year-old Meyer-Crothers, a Black classmate whose mother described as functioning at a 10-year-old level, eat a candy push pop after wiping it in a bathroom urinal, and surveillance video showed them kicking and punching him.
The Arizona Coyotes renounced Miller's rights three weeks after the 2020 draft.
"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," Coyotes' president Xavier Gutierrez said in a statement at the time.
As reported by ESPN, Miller was subsequently dropped by the University of North Dakota hockey program before his freshman season began. Last season, Miller returned to play his final year of junior hockey eligibility with the Tri-City Storm.
Bruins president Cam Neely said the team signed Miller after weeks of evaluation and "careful consideration of the facts as we were aware of them: that at 14-years-old he made a poor decision that led to a juvenile conviction."
Miller, now 20 years old, was offered a contract based on the belief that the juvenile conviction was an “isolated incident” and Miller was “committed to ongoing personal development.”
In his statement released Wednesday, Meyer-Crothers said that he was bullied by Miller since the first grade, which included both physical bullying and racial slurs.
While Miller and his agent have said that he has apologized to Meyer-Crothers, which was a condition of the Bruins offering Miller the contract, Meyer-Crothers claims the apology went much differently.
Here is Meyer-Crothers' statement as released through the Hockey Diversity Alliance on Wednesday:
"I am Isaiah Meyer-Crothers. I would like to make a statement.
I have been bullied since I was in 1st grade.
There were not many Black kids at my school. I was called 'brownie' and 'n-----.'
Kids said my Black mom and dad didn't love me and that's why I have white parents.
Mitchell used to ask me to sit with him on the bus and then he and his friends would punch me in the head. This happened my whole time at school.
When I went to Junior High Mitchell would spit in my face and call me a N word. I stopped telling because they called me a snitch and I would get made fun of. I had to say I was 'his n-----' to sit at his table and he made me clean the whole table. He threw food at my face. I was called 'n-----' every day.
The office would tell me to stay away from him because he wasn't my friend.
Once he got expelled from school, his friends started bullying me.
He pretended to be my friend and made me do things I didn't want to do. In junior high, I got beat up by him.
Everyone thought he was cool, but I don't see how someone can be cool when you pick on someone and bully someone your entire life.
Middle of October, I was being texted constantly everyday and till I answered a Snapchat and IG message from Mitchell Miller. He asked me why I always have my parents doing stuff for me and why I can't speak for myself.
I told him I don't care what my parents say I'm old enough to speak for myself.
He told me he was sorry and [that the apology] didn't involve hockey.
He told me he was doing stuff in the community and helping the youth and he wanted to be my friend.
I told him, 'That's cool but where is the proof though?'
He didn't give me any [proof].
All the lies I have been told from him for so many years I don't believe what Mitchell told me.
He kept asking me to be his friend and that he has changed over the years from what he did.
I told him, 'I'm not just gonna be your friend after all you did to me.'
I am now getting messages on social media from people calling me 'a slow, retarded assclown' and 'you stupid n-----,' saying that 'I need help.'
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."
Miller's agent, Eustace King, released a statement Sunday morning, the day after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman declared Miller ineligible to play in the league.
King, a Black man and one of the few Black NHL agents in the league, explained why he chose to represent Miller.
“02K Sports Management would not have agreed to represent Mitchell without months of research, deliberation, introspection within our organization, and conversations with outside advisors," King said. "Moreover, when deliberating whether to represent Mitchell, we learned throughout the last six years, Mitchell has been volunteering with organizations such as Spread the Word Campaign, Little Miracles, Adaptive Sports of Ohio and Gliding Stars.”
Miller provided scans of his court-mandated community service work to AZ Coyotes Insider. WTOL 11 called Little Miracles on Harroun Road in Sylvania, which is listed as one of the locations Miller had volunteered with both in the documents and as mentioned by King in the statement.
When asked if Miller was currently a volunteer with Little Miracles, a worker said that there are no current volunteers and added that they were unaware of having any volunteers within the past six years that they had worked with Little Miracles.
Miller's documents were signed off by the owner of Little Miracles, who is currently on vacation and was unavailable. A portion of his community service work with Little Miracles in 2016 was described as taking place at a horse camp with special needs children, which the worker confirmed is run by the owner.
The court document reads that Miller completed 24 1/2 hours of community service with Little Miracles. Three hours and 50 minutes were spent with Adaptive Sports Ohio, another organization mentioned by King.
A message was left with Adaptive Sports Ohio. At the time of this writing, WTOL 11 is waiting to hear back regarding Miller's current or past status with Adaptive Sports Ohio.
Gliding Stars of Toledo responded with a statement when asked about Miller Wednesday night.
Gliding Stars is an adaptive skating program that helps individuals of any age with disabilities learn how to ice skate without barriers through the usage of adaptive equipment and on-ice instruction. The skaters, known as "Stars," work with a multitude of volunteers leading up to an end-of-season performance showcasing their talents.
The statement by Gliding Stars of Toledo reads, in part:
"Mitchell Miller was a volunteer for Gliding Stars, and he assisted positively with on-ice help and instruction directly with Stars each time he volunteered. This involved skating with the Stars, instruction on skating techniques, help with the use of adaptive equipment for the Stars he was assigned to skate with, and help prepare his Stars for the end-of-season performance. The timeline of his volunteerism was 4-5 years ago. While volunteering, Mitchell was courteous, punctual, kind and helpful to those he interacted with, including our Stars. As is the case with all that are kind enough to volunteer and to do so while being positive and helpful, Mitchell Miller’s contributions were valued and very much appreciated."
Miller's volunteer work with Gliding Stars, according to the timeline provided by the organization, would not have been part of his court-mandated hours and would have taken place after his community service obligation had already been fulfilled.
The Bruins reversed course with Miller just two days after signing him, rescinding the offer Sunday afternoon after facing significant backlash including concerns raised by Bruins players.
"Based on new information, we believe it is the best decision at this time to rescind the opportunity for Mitchell Miller to represent the Boston Bruins," Neely said. "We hope that he continues to work with professionals and programs to further his education and personal growth."
Neely said Monday that the Bruins should have "dug deeper" on Miller's bullying. Neely added that it was "concerning" that no one from the Bruins reached out to the Meyer-Crothers family during the vetting process.
The Hockey Diversity Alliance also claims that while the Bruins did not reach out to the group either, Miller's agent did.
“Miller’s agent Eustace King had contacted members of the HAD and solicited our approval, which we quickly and emphatically declined. Further, if we had been consulted, we could have told the Bruins that we asked King to drop the matter at this time," the group, made up of current and former hockey players of color, said.
“In 2020, when reports of this harassment and abuse first surfaced, the Hockey Diversity Alliance reached out to the Meyer-Crothers family and offered our support for them. Members of our organization have stayed in touch with them since then and again over the past week. In fact, Isaiah contacted us [Tuesday] morning and expressed his distress to us," HAD's statement said. "For Isaiah and his family, the healing process has been and will be a matter that will play out over the years."
CBS News Boston contributed to this report.