Should one's past as an adolescent bully be used against them in adulthood?

Inspired by this:

https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nhl/coyotes/2020/10/26/arizona-coyotes-top-draft-pick-bullied-black-disabled-kid-4-years-ago/3735555001/>

The Arizona Coyotes last month boasted about having their chief executive selected to an elite National Hockey League committee that pledged to stop racism, but the team then spent its first draft pick on an 18-year-old who has admitted to bullying an African American classmate with developmental disabilities.

Isaiah Meyer-Crothers, the Black student, told The Arizona Republic that he was stunned and saddened when he learned the Coyotes earlier this month had selected Mitchell Miller, whom he grew up with in Sylvania, Ohio.

Four years ago, Miller admitted in an Ohio juvenile court to bullying Meyer-Crothers, who was tricked into licking a candy push pop that Miller and another boy had wiped in a bathroom urinal.Meyer-Crothers had to be tested for hepatitis, HIV and STDs, but the tests came back negative, according to a police report.

Meyer-Crothers, also 18 and who now lives in Detroit, said Miller had taunted him for years, constantly calling him “brownie” and the “N-word,” while repeatedly hitting him while growing up in the Toledo suburb. Other students at their junior high confirmed to police that Miller repeatedly used the “N-word” in referring to Meyer-Crothers.

“He pretended to be my friend and made me do things I didn’t want to do,” Meyer-Crothers said in a phone interview. “In junior high, I got beat up by him. … Everyone thinks he’s so cool that he gets to go to the NHL, but I don’t see how someone can be cool when you pick on someone and bully someone your entire life.”

IMHO, this is a no-brainer. This guy should have not been picked. We’re not talking about someone who committed harmless schoolyard mischief back in the fourth grade. We’re talking about someone who committed criminal acts just four years ago and who has not apologized or made any amends to the victim. But besides that, the optics of drafting this guy are really bad. How’s this team going to say it cares about fighting racism and then draft a known racist?

I think I’d feel less adamant if we were talking about someone whose sordid past was more distant (ten years rather than four years) and we were talking about a more mundane job (insurance salesperson instead of professional athlete). But I still wouldn’t have a problem if a hiring manager looking to fill a mundane position decided to not hire someone based on the shittery they did back in adolesence. When you’ve got a million applicants for a job and most of them are qualified, why not reject the known bullies? I believe in giving individuals a second chance when they’ve shown themselves to be deserving of one. But I don’t think employers should feel obligated to give any rando who knocks on their door a second chance.

What do you think about all of this?

He was old enough to know better, even this developmentally disabled kid knew what happened to him was wrong.

Fuck this guy, send him packing.

He should be sent to a psychiatrist, not rewarded. Virtually no time has passed since his racist behavior.

From another article:

It sounds like Miller has “apologized” to every NHL team, but his claim that he’s also personally apologized to the victim doesn’t jibe with what the victim’s mother says. This feels more like an “I’m sorry that I got caught” kind of apology.

I was bullied, continuously and fairly mercilessly, by most of my classmates, from 5th through 8th grades. I would probably feel at least a little differently about this if I got the sense that Miller truly understood (or cared about) the hurt he inflicted on the other boy, and that he did so not just in “a bullying incident,” but over the course of years. The fact that the bullying also was racist in nature makes it even worse.

I sense no sincerity in what Miller is now saying, and I feel like this is yet another incident in which a white kid with some level of priviledge (in this case, because he’s a promising athlete) is given a pass on extensive cruel behavior.

https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/nhl-arizona-coyotes-prospect-mitchell-miller-addresses-disturbing-racism-bullying-incidents-214800450.html

I’ll jump on the bandwagon.

Certainly seems relevant to his character. A sufficient amount of time w/ intervening contrary activity could persuade me to feel otherwise.

Agree with the thread trend here. He seems remorseful only at the point when a large player contract is on the line. If he was sincere, all this would have predated the Coyotes news (not sure if it had).

I’d want to know more about the sensitivity training and the volunteer work he alleges participating in.

There was a person I bullied when I was in 8th grade. I made fun of him for the way he walked in PE. This probably went on for a few months before I got bored with it and stopped. Around 10th or 11th grade I began to reflect on my behavior and concluded I was wholly in the wrong for doing that. This was part of an effort to get closer to what I felt was an ideal ethical code, or something like that. I was really starting to question the motivation for a lot of the things I did (good, bad, or benign) and what it means to continue engaging in these activities.

Unlike Mitchell Miller I wasn’t in a position to be drafted by any sports team upon graduating. These days I would understand that no team would’ve owed me an opportunity, especially in light of the way I acted in middle school. Would I have understood that at 18? I doubt it, but it wouldn’t matter.

I read the letter he wrote to NHL teams. I don’t like being that person who nitpicks writing, but his letter contains some writing issues. I feel that if this was a matter that was as important to him as it should be, the letter could at least reflect that. To be clear, even if his letter was the most heartfelt prose ever written, it would not necessarily mean he deserves a chance in the NHL. Just an observation.

“The behavior that occurred”?

Nope. Step 1: Own your own behavior.
Step 2: Hire a better lawyer to write your public releases.

If he DOES use much of his life to raise awareness and discourage it, then MAYBE we could talk about giving him nice opportunities. And that’s using his ordinary life, the way the rest of us do it, not using some instantly inflated influence becoming a star would give him.

But otherwise, no, I’m with the OP. And I’m a bit appalled even though it is getting pretty challenging to be appalled.

I don’t think I was close to as bad as this hockey player, but I was pretty mean towards a couple of kids in grade school, and 1 kid in high school. And in college, I don’t think I was directly mean towards any single person, but I remember saying at least a couple of things publicly which I now cringe at.

Just observing - I think a lot of young men do/say stupid stuff. I’m glad I’m not held responsible for the 18 year old I was.

Also, while I’ve known some upstanding student athletes, I think I perceived a greater degree of assholery among student athletes, than in student bodies as a whole. And my personal experience had hockey player at the top of the asshole list.

The title made me think this was going to be about decades-past behavior where I think it’s questionable whether it’s relevant. Adolescent bullying is a mark of character, but lots of people do plenty of maturing between their teenage idiot years and adulthood. I certainly did and said dumb things as a teenager (uh, not as bad as those in the OP) that I don’t think are super-relevant to my life as I approach 40.

But the guy in question is 18. He’s barely removed from the bad behavior. Absolutely it should be considered. Turning 18 doesn’t wipe away all that came prior to that day.

This wasn’t impulsive behavior, like a fight - it was planned out torment that lasted for years, and it happened relatively recently. I don’t have a problem with it being held against him.

I’m not adamant even about teenagers like this kid, but I would certainly consider his past, even when he’s 30/40/60/80. Look at sports administrators: a lot of them are the same kind of assholes they were at 16. More careful, but still assholes.

What if a condition of his employment was that he spend X hours a year lecturing/giving presentations in primary schools ?

He could work with (anti-bullying) consultants to design a curriculum that he would travel (regionally, or nationally) to no end of schools to present.

I think about that great line from Saving Private Ryan … after they sacrificed so much to do just that:

Earn this, earn it.

This guy has a chance to have some real good (as opposed to, say, some nebulous and feckless campaign called … oh … let’s just say, “Be Best”).

It would be a condition of his employment, it would be monitored on an ongoing basis.

Otherwise … yeah … screw him with a (hockey) stick.

These two sentences together are remarkable.

  1. Yeah, we live in a world in which a lot of young men do/say vicious, extremely hurtful stuff.
  2. And we live in a world in which they’re not held responsible.

Imagine if the second sentence weren’t true. Would the first sentence still be true?

What is the goal here? Punish him for past behavior? I guess that keeping him out of the NHL would do that, but I’m not sure it’s the NHL’s job to do that. Are we concerned he’s still an asshole? That seems like a risk that the team can decide if they’re willing to take or not.

People are complicated. Lots of people do terrible things. What this young man did was terrible. My first reaction was that I wouldn’t want him on any team I was in charge of. But then, I wouldn’t want to admit him to my college, or hire him at my 7-eleven. Or let him in the Army. So, what’s to become of him? Do we just write him off as a nasty fuck up? I don’t know the answer.

Punishment is not only to punish the offender, but also to act as a deterrence for others.

If people know that they will be rejected from their dream job of playing in professional sports for the torments that they inflict on their peers, then they may think twice before engaging in such behaviors.

I think it’s going to be the rare 14-year-old who has that kind of perspective, and the sort of 14-year-old who bullies and torments a particular classmate for years is even less likely to have that sort of long-term thinking.

Unfortuantely, as long as we have assholes who are also in possession of athletic gifts or other talents which are valued by at least a segment of society, they’re likely to be given a pass on their asshole-ish behavior.

That’s the theory. But I don’t know if we can test it. Eighth graders are probably not the most forward-looking cohort. The concept of “this will go down on your permanent record” is largely scoffed at by school-aged humans.

Most of us got through school without this level of obnoxious (and worse) behavior. Not because we were afraid bullying a few people would ruin our future careers, but because we were kinder and more decent people (to an extent). I don’t know why this guy did what he did, and I don’t know what the long term consequences should be. Certainly, there should be immediate and significant consequences at the time, if possible.

But what if he wasn’t a gifted athlete. What if he was really good a Latin and physics, and wanted to go to Yale?