The Arizona Coyotes renounced the rights to Mitchell Miller, their first draft pick of this month's NHL Draft, on Thursday.
The selection of Miller, 18 years old and now playing hockey at the University of North Dakota, was widely criticized after an Arizona Republic report published Monday detailed Miller's bullying and racist taunting of a Black youth, Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, when the two were 14 years old in Ohio.
The club issued an apology to the Meyer-Crothers family.
"We have decided to renounce the rights to Mitchell Miller, effective immediately," Coyotes president & CEO Xavier Gutierrez said in a statement from the team Thursday. "Prior to selecting Mitchell in the NHL Draft, we were aware that a bullying incident took place in 2016. We do not condone this type of behavior but embraced this as a teachable moment to work with Mitchell to make him accountable for his actions and provide him with an opportunity to be a leader on anti-bullying and anti-racism efforts. We have learned more about the entire matter, and more importantly, the impact it has had on Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family. 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. On behalf of the Arizona Coyotes ownership and our entire organization, I would like to apologize to Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family. We are building a model franchise on and off the ice and will do the right thing for Isaiah and the Meyer-Crothers family, our fans and our partners. Mr. Miller is now a free agent and can pursue his dream of becoming an NHL player elsewhere."
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Arizona Coyotes renounce rights to controversial pick Mitchell Miller