Boston Bruins hire firm to review player vetting process

Nov 15, 2022, 12:20 AM | Updated: 2:21 pm
FILE - Boston Bruins President Cam Neely speaks to reporters during the hockey teams end-of-season ...

FILE - Boston Bruins President Cam Neely speaks to reporters during the hockey teams end-of-season news conference, Tuesday, June 18, 2019, in Boston. Neely said Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, the team “dropped the ball" with its internal vetting of Mitchell Miller, ultimately leading to the decision to rescind its contract offer to the defenseman. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

(AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Bruins have hired a law firm led by former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to review their player vetting process after signing prospect Mitchell Miller and then rescinding his contract offer.

The team announced Tuesday it retained Lynch of the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct an independent review of the process. Miller, who was convicted of assault in 2016 for bullying a Black classmate with developmental disabilities in middle school, signed an entry-level deal with Boston this month even though the Arizona Coyotes previously relinquished their rights to him after drafting him in 2020.

The Bruins rescinded Miller’s contract offer after facing harsh criticism around the hockey community and from players currently in the NHL. In their latest statement, they pledged to cooperate with Lynch’s investigation and publicly disclose the results of the review when completed.

“We recently fell short of our high standards and disappointed both ourselves and many in our community,” the Bruins said. “Moving forward, we are committed to ensuring that our values are reflected in everything we do as an organization, including our process for vetting future players.”

Bruins President Cam Neely said the team “dropped the ball” in its vetting process in the aftermath of the signing and rescinding fiasco, which still has multiple ways it could get worked out since Miller is technically still under contract and part of the organization until it’s terminated or bought out or there’s a settlement.

Neely said in a statement the Bruins thought Miller’s conduct was an isolated incident and that the team reversed course based on new information — particularly that the team hadn’t spoken to victim Isaiah Meyer-Crothers or his family.

Neely met with Miller, agent Eustace King and Miller’s mother prior to signing him. Neely said he shouldn’t have assumed the vetting process also included a meeting with Meyer-Crothers’ family. Asked why that didn’t happen, Neely said: “It’s a great question. Something I need to find out.”

After the Bruins announced the signing of Miller, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the 20-year-old defenseman would not currently be eligible to play in the league without major changes. Boston players voiced opposition to adding Miller, with veteran forward Nick Foligno saying it was “hard to swallow.”

In a statement released last week by the Hockey Diversity Alliance, Meyer-Crothers said he hasn’t seen any proof Miller has changed his ways. Meyer-Crothers said Miller reached out by text to apologize and to say he was doing community work to help young people.

Lynch was already involved in another high-profile sports matter relating to race. The NFL in February hired her and her firm to defend it and its teams in the race discrimination lawsuit brought by former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores.

The Bruins said retaining Lynch “will help us ensure that our process going forward reflects our core values.”

___

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, left, hits a 3-pointer with less than a second left in the NBA b...
Associated Press

Murray’s 3 gives Nuggets 121-120 win over Lillard, Blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Jamal Murray’s 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds remaining lifted the Denver Nuggets to a thrilling 121-120 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night. Damian Lillard had 40 points for the Trail Blazers, including a 3-pointer that gave them a one-point lead with 8.8 seconds remaining. Murray then answered with his […]
22 hours ago
Utah forward Ben Carlson (1) goes to the basket as Jacksonville State guard Skyelar Potter (5) defe...
Associated Press

Utah hits 16 3-pointers, routs Jacksonville State 99-58

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lazar Stefanovic made six of Utah’s 16 3-pointers, and the Utes scored the first 19 points of the game and cruised to a 99-58 rout of Jacksonville State on Thursday night for its fourth straight win. Stefanovic finished with 20 points. Branden Carlson added 19 points and Gabe Madsen had […]
22 hours ago
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield (17) celebrates a touchdown by wide receiver Van Jeffer...
Associated Press

Baker cooks: Newcomer Mayfield rallies Rams past Vegas 17-16

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Baker Mayfield was waived by Carolina on Monday and claimed by the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday. After a cross-country flight, he got one short practice with his new team on Wednesday. And on Thursday night, Mayfield led the Rams to two late fourth-quarter touchdowns and a stunning 17-16 victory over […]
22 hours ago
San Antonio Spurs' Tre Jones (33) goes to the basket against Houston Rockets' Usman Garuba (16) and...
Associated Press

Johnson’s hot start helps Spurs beat Rockets, end skid at 11

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Keldon Johnson scored 32 points and the San Antonio Spurs snapped an 11-game losing streak by beating the Houston Rockets 118-109 on Thursday night. Johnson sparked the turnaround by making his first nine shots and his first three 3-pointers in helping San Antonio win for the first time since Nov. 11, […]
22 hours ago
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) goes up for a shot against Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul G...
Associated Press

Adebayo, Butler lift Heat past Kawhi-less Clippers 115-110

MIAMI (AP) — Bam Adebayo knows the Miami Heat have some work to do to climb up the standings. Thursday was, he hopes, a good start. Adebayo had 31 points and 10 rebounds, Jimmy Butler added 26 points and the Heat held off the Los Angeles Clippers 115-110. “If we worry about ourselves, I feel […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Mikonowicz, Toledo women upend No. 14 Michigan 71-68

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Sammi Mikonowicz made a layup with 13.6 seconds left and then added two free throws at 3.1 seconds as Toledo beat No. 14 Michigan 71-68 on Thursday night for its first win over a ranked team in 12 years and first on the road since March of 1996. The Rockets […]
22 hours ago
Boston Bruins hire firm to review player vetting process