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Gary Bettman on Mitchell Miller: 'He's not coming into the NHL'

The Boston Bruins’ signing of Mitchell Miller has taken another turn, with a particularly prominent voice taking issue with the decision.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman discussed the matter at the NHL’s Global Series in Finland and shared a significant development surrounding the team's process, and Miller’s status.

“Before the Bruins made the decision to sign him, we were not consulted,” Bettman said in a press conference. “I happened to talk to (Bruins President) Cam Neely since the time he was signed. He’s not coming into the NHL, he’s not eligible at this point to come into the NHL. I can’t tell you that he’ll ever be eligible.”

Bettman also denounced the actions of Miller, calling them reprehensible and unacceptable.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the Boston Bruins did not consult the league before signing Mitchell Miller. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the Boston Bruins did not consult the league before signing Mitchell Miller. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

In addition, to the NHL’s commissioner, the AHL also expressed a similar sentiment on Miller’s eligibility.

"Per our by-laws, any player under suspension to another league who seeks to play in the AHL would have the matter reviewed by the president to determine his eligibility,” a representative said via Sean Shapiro of EP Rinkside.

As for the Bruins’ internal outlook on the signing, the players did not sound pleased with the move themselves, speaking with the media in Toronto on Saturday ahead of their game against the Maple Leafs.

“It’s not something anyone in this room stands for,” Nick Foligno said, according to The Athletic's Fluto Shinzawa. “The culture we’ve built and these guys have built before I got here is one of inclusion. I think it goes against that.”

Other Bruins players, including Patrice Bergeron, stood strongly against the decision made by the team’s front office, as Boston's captain shared with Elliotte Friedman in a sit-down interview.

“As a team, we stand for integrity and inclusion and diversity,” the 19-year NHL veteran told Friedman. “So the first thing that came out of my mouth was that it goes against everything we are as a culture and a team.”

Sweeney reportedly went to Bergeron earlier this week to disclose the team’s plans to sign Miller, according to Shinzawa, to which Bergeron expressed that same apprehension to his general manager.

Even the GM himself was uneasy about the team’s decision to bring Miller into the fold.

“Personally, this has been a struggle as to what is right and what is wrong,” Sweeney said during a press conference on Friday. “I can’t categorically tell you that this is the absolute right decision.”

Back in 2016, Miller bullied classmate Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, who is Black and developmentally disabled, by referring to him as the N-word, forcing him to lick a lollipop that had been wiped against a urinal, and physically assaulting him. Miller was eventually convicted in juvenile court, pleading guilty to one count of assault and one count of violation of the Ohio Safe Schools Act.

Meyers-Crothers, meanwhile, required testing for HIV, hepatitis, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases. All of the tests came back negative.

Meyer-Crothers mother, Joni, also spoke with WBZ-TV/CBS News Boston anchor Paula Ebben, sharing that Miller had never directly apologized to her son until last week, and that it “most definitely was not hockey related why he was telling him that he was sorry.”

She also said the abuse her son endured in 2016 was not a one-time incident and that Miller tormented him "for years and years."

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