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Daily Dish: Racial Double Standard Ices NHL Prospect - Junior Hockey News

Published: Monday, 2 Nov 2020  
By: Stephen Heisler,

Warning. I’m fired up and will be shooting from the hip. If you like a lot of sugar in your coffee, this might be a good time to exercise your free agency and back button your way out of reading what I’m about to say. 

Many that have the privilege of being in our not so private social media group will recognize a lot of what’s going to be said today. Some of it in your own words and I’m going to refrain from using your names…to protect your family and friends from the embarrassment. If that offends you, please also exercise your liberty to remove yourself from the group. Frankly I’m concerned a few of you are in there anyway. 

Did I mention there might be a little salt in my coffee today? Ugh.

This should not be political and especially not the day before an election. Nor should any media outlet take it upon themselves to try and destroy a young man’s hockey hopes and dreams.

From CNN: 
The Arizona Coyotes announced Thursday that they have renounced their rights to their 2020 top NHL draft pick Mitchell Miller after a recent report revealed he had bullied a Black classmate with disabilities.

This is how bad the race factor is being pushed by mainstream media...what difference should it have made that the victim is black? Bullying is not less of an issue for other kids without disabilities. Folks, there lies the biggest problem with this story.

I'm not justifying what the young man did at age fourteen. That action was the definition of the word stupid. But now it becomes a life sentence because the victim was black? What if the player was also black? No problem here, move along. Kids will be kids, right?

Tom is a poster from our group, well, for now he is. This is what he had to say.

Tom: He fed a handicapped kid candy that was intentionally put into a urinal and then beat him up. Psychopaths like that don't change very much. Hopefully he will be blacklisted from every hockey organization from the NHL to beer league in Africa.

Naturally, I could not help myself and had to respond.

Me: OK, so by your standards, what this player did is worse than felonies, rape, and domestic violence?

The hook was easily set.

Tom: I will play along. So by your standard, we shouldn't send people to jail for assault because, you know, it wasn't like they murdered the person.

The fact that you are standing up for this kid is absurd. The only apology he ever gave was a court directed one, and he never did it in person. I am sure he is very that something is being taken away. F#$% that kid.

I’m thinking Tom did not even get to the third paragraph of the CNN article at all. If he had he would have seen for himself that Miller did in fact apologize, and did so very publicly on numerous occasions. This article is not in defense of the wrongful actions of the then fourteen year old… but where was the Coyotes' plans to manage this already well known issue?  Did they draft him, only to cut him loss to virtue signal?  

Tom also does not know that I've built a career out of fighting for players. 

Me: Player went through the juvenile judicial process. Yet you are saying he can't go on with his life. It's a double standard.

Why didn’t the court tell Miller the world reserves the right to revisit his transgression, for which he had already paid his debt to society? So the lesson today is, not only will you be convicted on allegation, even after being found guilty and paying your debt, you will be asked to potentially pay it again. Not only is it a double standard, it's also double jeopardy. 

This is the release written by Miller.
I am extremely sorry about the bullying incident that occurred in 2016 while I was in eighth grade. I was young, immature and feel terrible about my actions.

At the time, I did not understand the gravity of my actions and how they can affect other people. I have issued an apology to the family for my behavior, completed cultural diversity and sensitivity training and volunteered within my community with organizations such as Little Miracles. 

Over the past four years, I have had a lot of time to reflect and grow and I am very grateful to the Arizona Coyotes for taking a chance on me. I promise not to let them down. Moving forward, I want to be a leader for this cause and help end bullying and racism.

Double standard? Tom did not agree.

Tom: No its not. A business decided that what this kid did was something they didn't want representing their brand. And they have every right to do it. He is not being charged again. He made several horrible choices, and now gets to pay the price for it. #karma. 

Now that Tom had completely swallowed the hook, it was time to start the filet process.

Me: The "business" was informed and is now simply reacting to Karen's letter. You however are passing judgement without direct knowledge of the case. Meanwhile you don't appear to have any issue with the high volume of much more heinous criminals within the sporting public. Miller was in junior high school. Meanwhile Jameis Winston gets the Heisman Trophy despite issue that a criminal rape case against him was being investigated. What's the difference? Races flipped and I'm pretty sure the girl would have gladly chomped on that lollipop if it meant circumventing the horror she had to endure. During and after the rape. It is an absolute media double standard.

St Louis resident David Delaney (named used with permission) should have shut the entire discussion down with this gem.

David: Matters of justice, even when criminal perpetrators or victims are juveniles, are best left to our justice systems.

Our systems of justice require the profound understanding and application of due process, the presumption of innocence, to face your accusers, and to have a jury of peers hear both sides of the allegations and circumstances under penalty of perjury, in addition to requiring proof beyond a reasonable doubt for all criminal allegations and punishments, etc.

Hockey coaches, players, team managers, and owners, business managers and owners, youth organizations, school systems, not-for-profit charity or political organizations, etc., not even police departments are properly educated or trained in the application and exercising of due process for all.

It’s laughable and sad and extremely frustrating to me when hockey coaches or scouts claim to be, not merely observing or assessing the “character” of players, but passing judgment on them by granting, preventing, revoking opportunities to play hockey.

It is even deemed acceptable today for a hockey coach or scout to judge a player, grant or revoke opportunity to that player based upon the actions and sins of his/her parent!

Far too many hockey coaches and scouts, at ALL levels, lack character and integrity themselves much less understand and are properly trained and equipped to apply due process to any players with questions in their personal histories.

And yet they claim they are capable and should do so and if they don’t who will? After all, that’s how you build a hockey team, a hockey club, have a talented dictator dole out and deny opportunities based on his own personal expert observations of the kingdom over which he reigns. Never mind his own corruption and character deficiencies.

The deeper and more severe problem with our society today is that technology has not only empowered the powerless, but it has also empowered the ill-informed. And now, instead of in the courtrooms where it belongs, justice and the punishment for wrongdoings when guilty, has moved into the streets, and the marketplace, and the internet, and into your neighborhoods and into sports, etc.

Every expert believes they are a trained and competent judge and jury.

Second chances, opportunities for reconciliation and change and growth, wild concepts such as forgiveness, “teaching moments” will never survive in this world. It will remain and worsen as a dog-eat-dog world.

Justice should always be meted out only in courtrooms or at the bare minimum using our fundamental notions of our justice system and jurisprudence, not on the streets or in business or on the internet by outraged and uncontrolled mobs.

Shut it down? Yea right, with an election right around the corner this crowd was just lighting the fires.

Jay: Stupid high school antics? He systematically bullied and physically assaulted a special needs kid who happened to be black, so the racial slurs were part of it. This went on for seven months and only time it stopped was during summer break. That's not normal. I get kids do stupid &$@%, I know I did, but this was different. The only reason he sent apologies to 31 hockey teams because he wants to play hockey. I believe in second chances but not in this time. 

Me: Judge, jury, and executioner. Let me know when all the criminals from all major leagues are no longer allowed to be rewarded for their athletic ability. Even after they have gone through the judicial process.

It is very hard for some people to accept that Miller has already been helping other kids and being a good example. So much that the University of North Dakota and the Phoenix Coyotes looked past the issue because the player showed the maturity level needed to learn. 

This is a hot button political issue because the victim is black. The exceptional treatment by the media created the unfair circus. Why should white kids be treated differently than black kids? Miller gets booted from school while Winston gets pushed by the school for the Heisman. CNN and the media knew all about the rape allegations against the Florida State University quarterback, yet decided to let it go. 

Even the Heisman voters from across the country elected to overlook the serious allegations. What if the QB was white and the girl black, would he still get the social and media pass? That would not happen and that's why the Miller situation is completely wrong.  He was in the eighth grade, completed the judicial process and correction, and now donkeys want him banned for life.

Imagine being Winston’s victim and having to watch this monster get drafted by her hometown NFL team.

You have to love the hockey moms and this one comes in with heart and reality.

Tanya: All that are so quick to give this kid a life sentence I hope you have thought long and hard to everything you did in your life and be able to say that there is nothing that anyone might find wrong. I understand his actions deserve consequences but would all of you feel the same way if your son’s dream he had worked his whole life for was taken away for behavior as a 14 year old and was never given a second chance?  It is easy to be judge jury and executioner behind your keyboard without knowing all the true details of the story. We live in a climate when as soon as race is involved the pitch forks come out.

Bill: I would be extremely saddened if any of my children ever did anything like this to another person at any age in the first place.

Tanya: Of course, as would I, but would you want them to pay for it for the rest of their life and never be given the opportunity to redeem themselves? I just think people are all very quick to crucify an individual without knowing all the details, without thinking about how they would feel if their child made the same bad decision. Ultimately everyone one of our kids are going to make bad choices at some point in their lives, we all just hope it’s not to the level where they can’t come back from it. I just feel that everyone should be given the opportunity to change, and not just change with words, but through their actions. He has had a successful junior career and on to college. Seems like there has been some major growth as a person.

Me: At any given time, we have 40-60 players on various youth, junior, and college teams. Character means everything to us, even more important than any hockey statistic. 

Cedar Rapids Head Coach Mark Carlson is one of the game's best when it comes to turning boys into responsible young men. He also coached this player for a full season. That never would have happened if such an issue of character entered the equation. 

Russ: This has gotten out of control. If it would have been dealt with at the time it happened, we wouldn't be where we are with it now. Shame on everybody overlooking it, committing to him, and then stripping it away for fear of what people think. What he did was wrong without question, but how did he play for Team USA, get drafted to the USHL, committed to a NCAA Division 1 school, and get drafted by the NHL before this gets brought to light? Again, it should have been dealt with completely four years ago.

Me: it was "dealt with" but Karen was not satisfied and now it's a national discussion because the race of the children. This is where our world (not just country) is now. There are no boundaries, no limits, and really no class. How many junior high incidents become court cases? We see now that the situation becomes political weaponry.

When it comes to the idea of someone being a leader of men, Hampton Road Whalers’ owner Patrick Cavanagh has a long track record of doing exactly that. I was happy to see him chime in.

Patrick: So many who preach forgiveness and teaching young people who have not fully matured are quick to cast stones. There are certainly a lot of hypocrites. This kid made a mistake- like all of us have, however this eighth grade error in judgment and character will not teach this young adult- it will exclude and mark him for life. Would it not be refreshing to see someone stand up to this persecution and provide this kid a chance to reconcile this error and better himself and others? I Don’t count on it.

Mark: The stupid junior high school antics, as the OP words it, wasn't a one-off. This was about bullying and racism that went on for years. From a privileged kid who has never shown genuine remorse and never apologized to the victim.

Tanya: Where you there when it happened? Did you personally witness the incident or is this your opinion based on internet Karens and Chads who have formed they opinions based on so called facts they have read on the internet. These kinds of statements are exactly what is wrong today. Anyone, regardless of whether of their statements are based on facts, can say whatever they want. And guess what, once it out there right or wrong the damage is done. This cancel culture needs to stop! Obviously multiple organizations (who are respected) with first-hand knowledge of the boy’s character had deemed his debt had been paid, but now the internet right fighters want to paint him with a scarlet letter for life?

So, is there a double standard when comparisons are made between Miller and Winston? Aside from rape being a much more serious offense than eighth grade bullying? Absolutely there is. 

Somebody mentioned the word karma, so where is Winston today? After being the top overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, his first professional pass wound up in the hands of a Titans defender that returned it for a touchdown. That was a sign and now Winston is a backup to 41 year-old Drew Brees in New Orleans.  Should we also overlook the QB’s 2018 three-game suspension for groping a female Uber driver?

The level of class that Miller has displays towers over Winston. The Saints’ player gets away with his antics because of statue and race. According to many within the game that know Miller, the now eighteen year-old gentleman has done everything the right way since doing the wrong thing as a child. 

The Arizona Coyotes knew that and so did the University of North Dakota. Both folded under political pressure and both should be ashamed of themselves for doing it.  The opportunity to work with the young player to deliver the ultimate anti-bullying message is lost in favor of gaining yet another politically motivated racial point. 

Considering the fact that I had to see NHL players kneeling during the National Anthem AND the University of North Dakota has a history of folding under political pressure, it's not surprising at all.  

Now, who’s going after the New Orleans Saints and National Football League? 

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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