Bruins exposed in reprehensible, insincere Mitchell Miller signing

Bruins president Cam Neely speaks after cutting Mitchell Miller, and apologizes for their decision to first sign him, says "we're extremely upset that we made a lot of people unhappy with our decision," says he takes pride in what the Bruins stand for, but we failed there.

If the Boston Bruins truly were working for “almost a year” on signing Mitchell Miller, as general manager Don Sweeney says, it was an indefensible waste of time.

All those months of slipshod work culminated in a $2.585-million three-year entry-level contract – maxed-out with all the signing and performance bonuses a kid could dream for – and exposed the red-faced franchise as blatantly insincere and systemically inept by putting its on-ice goals ahead of what is morally right.

With commissioner Gary Bettman, loathe to give the power-wielding Bruins short shrift, declaring the 20-year-old prospect ineligible for the National Hockey League hours after the signing; with respected leaders of hockey’s first-place club – Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Nick Foligno among them – publicly questioning their organization’s priorities; and with loyal fans voicing their disapproval, the Bruins backed down.

“It goes against what we are as a culture and as a team, and for me as a person,” Bergeron said.

[brightcove videoID=6315113168112 playerID=JCdte3tMv height=360 width=640]

So, the Bruins are cutting ties with Miller.

They are apologizing.

Which is something Miller has yet to do in any meaningful way to Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, the Black classmate with disabilities Miller repeatedly bullied.

“He’s never reached out to my son. He never reached out to us,” Isaiah’s mother, Joni Meyer-Crothers, said in an interview with WBZ on Friday in the deafening aftermath of Miller’s signing.

“I don’t care how talented any player is. He could be the next Wayne Gretzky. But if your player that you’re taking doesn’t have character and isn’t a good human being, then you really might want to rethink what you’re doing.”

Only after backlash from all corners did Bruins president Cam Neely reconsider and swallow a tone-deaf signing that has deflected conversation away from his club’s scorching 10-2-0 start and placed Boston in the crosshairs of public opinion.

Favouring a flyer on a maybe stud right-shot defenceman over common decency will do that.

Speaking to reporters on a sobering Monday morning, Neely admitted that the Bruins had “failed” with this decision, that they had “dropped the ball.”

What a thud.

In Sunday night’s press release renouncing Miller, just two autumns after the Arizona Coyotes had done the same, Neely had the gall to state that “we understood this to be an isolated incident” and the call to cut Miller was “based on new information.”

The so-called “new” information is six years old and can be found by punching a few keywords into an internet search engine. (We’re guessing all the teams that passed on Miller in the draft took a glance.)

Suggesting otherwise insults the intelligence of the fan base.

More seriously, it delivers one more slap in the face to the bullied.

During the Bruins’ year of past-due diligence, a phone call to the Meyer-Crothers home would surely have revealed something more important than video clips of a teenager’s crisp breakout passes.

Imagine the trauma this signing has dredged up all over again for Meyer-Crothers.

“We didn’t talk to the family. We should have talked to the family,” Neely conceded.

(At the time of his presser, Neely still hadn’t contacted the family. He said he has plans to do so, though.)

“Initially, I was thinking it was going to be, ‘OK, this kid deserves a second chance.’ I thought there would be some people that were going to be upset about it. But to the extent of this, I misread that,” Neely added.

“So, we could’ve done a better job. We should’ve done a better job.”

That’s undisputable, and the Bruins are wearing their shame.

But if there is any positivity to be salvaged from this debacle, it’s that the fans piped up, players used their voices and reporters sought out the other side of the story.

The B’s got called out on their BS.

Boston’s scouts are still confident that Miller could be a player. But at what cost?

“From a character standpoint,” Neely said, “that’s where we failed.”

Comments are turned off for this story.