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

I suspect that the admissions committee at Yale would weigh his history of bullying more strongly than either the University of North Dakota (where Miller has been attending, and playing hockey), or the Arizona Coyotes, did. Character (or the lack thereof) should count for something.

It’s time to stop pretending, ‘playing sports builds character’, if they are going to overlook actions like these to chase ‘wins’.

Playing sports does build character, in my experience, only when coaches and managers demonstrate by example.

I think it would be cool to draft him and then bench him at the minimum salary until he is allowed to be grabbed by other teams. Basically waste his potential for the first X years.

Yeah, it’s still a way better salary than he deserves, but not what he could get if he were allowed some ice time.

I hate bullies.

Since when is not hiring someone a “punishment”? Millions of qualified individuals are rejected for job opportunities for lesser offenses than bullying. Are they being punished?

Presumably the goal of any professional sports league is to build a team of good players who exemplify the values of that team. You know, the same goals as any other employer.

All punishments are for past behavior, right?

The end goal is to reduce bullying and racism. Does punishing people who are bullies and racists do that? I think it does. Yes, sure the team can decide who to hire, like anyone can. Just like we all can choose whether to patronize businesses who hire racist bullies, and suggest that they not hire racist bullies.

Is racist bullying something that we as a society think is bad enough that it should impact your future? I’m going to say “yes”, with some quibbling about exactly how long it should affect your future. People should be given the opportunity to grow beyond and atone for their misdeeds.

Having read more of the story, it seems that this took place 4 years before and that he (maybe?) issued a legitimate public apology. Did he really? The family says he didn’t. I think that it’s plausible that he has become a better person and that his apology is sincere, and if his school/NFL team also believe that then it’s reasonable to hire him.

I don’t disagree. That’s why I asked “What’s the goal?” I don’t want to hire racist bullies, and I don’t want anyone else to either. So, what options does this guy have? Is he still a racist bully? I have no idea. I would be surprised if that type of character flaw can be addressed successfully in a few short years, but what do I know?

Turns out, this team was willing to give him a chance. Does that send the wrong message to racist bullies currently in 8th grade? Maybe, but I have a hard time imagining a racist 13 year old giving a shit or seeing the light if this guy can’t find a job.

It sends the wrong message to everyone, including all the 13-year-old victims of bullying.

I think that might be the most important consideration. Thanks

Procrustus’ post has me rethinking this a little. If he has taken steps to atone for his behavior, and promises to model good behavior and support anti-bullying/anti-racist causes as he becomes a famous athlete, might that be better than “punishment” of being disregarded by the NHL, which could make him even more a bully/racist/a-hole and then deprive all of us a high-profile person to associate with fighting against bad behavior? Assuming he is held to his word.

I think he definitely should apologize to his victim and the victim’s family in a way that is acceptable to them, but there may be more good to come out of forgiveness here than vengeance? I dunno - maybe he can be more of a tool than a piece of waste. I would rather not throw people away - we give convicts additional chances to be productive.

I don’t disagree – my earlier point was that the “apologies” he’s issued so far have been, IMO, not particularly sincere, and centered on the one incident for which he was caught. He didn’t seem to address the fact that he’d been bullying the other kid for years, and that the bullying was also racist in nature.

It’s also in dispute whether or not he has actually given a formal apology to the victim and the victim’s family, whereas he sent a formal apology to every team in the NHL, which could only be considered “wronged parties” from the standpoint of being subjected to bad PR due to him.

If Miller is truly contrite, truly understanding of the horrible nature of what he subjected the victim to, and truly willing to use the bully pulpit he now has to make a difference about bullying, outstanding. Based on what I’ve read about the case today, I’m having a hard time seeing that yet.

It’s bad that he was a bully. It’s worse that he was racist. It is inexcusable that physically assaulted a developmentaly delayed young man. All of the above make him a garbage person.

At least some kids mature over four years.

I helped ostracize and torment a kid in my school when I was in eighth grade. He was a socially awkward but decent kid. I never saw him mistreat anyone but, unfortunately, I also never saw anyone treat him well. He had no friends in school and kids saddled him with a cruel nickname. No one in school ever called him by his given name, including our stereotypically sadistic gym teacher. For a time, I literally didn’t know his real name because I never heard anyone use it (the only class we were in together was gym).

He never did anything bad to me and he never did anything to deserve the taunting and cruelty directed at him. But when I was in eighth grade, I called him by the same hurtful nickname, I laughed at the nonsense others would spout at him, I made some stupid jokes of my own at his expense. I never stuck up for him or even took a moment to get to know him. The truth is, I just didn’t give his feelings much thought. Being cruel to him gave me a chance to superficially bond with people in my class that I otherwise didn’t connect to very well. By joining in, I ensured that their cruelty wasn’t being directed at me.

By the time I graduated from high school, I recognized how needlessly awful we had all been to him. I never saw him in high school but I continued to think about him from time to time and I felt guilty about how I had treated him. I met a guy at a party my senior year who turned out to be his friend. Although I couldn’t apologize directly to him, I at least apologized to his friend and I sincerely wish I could have done more to make up for the hurt I caused I hope that he is doing well today.

I didn’t have any startling epiphany during those four years. I just grew up and realized that what I did was wrong and I was ashamed of how I’d acted. It’s now a couple decades later and I still wish I could make up for it.

I don’t know how I would convince him that I had changed or how I could convince anyone else. And I’m not sure that the kid in the OP really changed but at I think it’s possible. And if he did sincerely change, no, I don’t think his adolescent bullying should be held against him forever. But if he hasn’t changed and he’s faking repentance, then by all means hold it against him.

Allegedly, our rational brains only mature at around age 25 (

At the same time, I find it hard to forgive people who have been mean to me or others in their teen years, no matter whether they have “changed”.

Maybe something like a public confession ceremony would help. People over the age of 25 admit that they have acted improperly and ask for forgiveness. And if they transgress again, then that’s it and there is no chance of redemption for them.

Is anyone else interested in starting a new religion based on those principles?

Look on the bright side. Not only will people get to hit him with sticks, it is expected.

Redemption takes both contrition and time. You need the contrition to show that you are sorry, and then time to show that said contrition resulted in change behaviors.

Some people are citing time, but has he shown enough contrition? Has he made things better for this kid, or others in similar situations? Is there any indication that he’s not just someone who apologized for getting caught and because it might harm his career chances?

Oh, and I do think it’s the job of the NHL to consider this, beyond just “what message they send.” There’s also just that an unredeemed person hasn’t changed, and thus could wind up bullying others. That’s the point of looking at their past–to predict the future. That includes their skills and how they’ve improved, but also whether or not they will be good for the team.

The past counts.

I’d draft him. Being a bully is fairly minor in the scheme of things that happen in high school and even more minor in middle school. I’d make a big deal of him doing antibullying campaigns and if he had any problems with violence or racism I’d fire him.

It’s not just athletes of course…

What interests me especially about the OP s that the kid is 18 years old. He was doing this crap just a few years ago. 1) Is he the next Wayne Gretzky, and 2) so what if he turns out to be? Celebs will always get away with it because people won’t boycott the product.

Regional sports team are a different animal than most jobs. The players are representing the city, being the public face, getting fans to feel proud and root for them in order to sell tickets and advertising. A player’s character definitely would factor in. It’s not so much like the old days when nobody knew which players were actually assholes in real life. Nowadays, you knock out your fiancee in an elevator, and people see the video footage.

This guy sounds a lot worse than the average bully, and hasn’t shown any actual contrition other than feeling bad about getting caught.

In the context of employment, adverse action is when you deny someone employment opportunities because of something revealed in their background/drug screen, because of their membership in a protected class, or in retaliation against whistle blowers. In this particular case we’d be talking about an adverse action based on someone’s background, which, in many cases, is perfectly legal. However, if you deny someone a position because of a background screen you can run into hot water if you’re not denying other candidates a position for similar reasons.

But is it punishment? It’s very difficult for convicted felons to get a job once they’ve served their sentence and many argue that this is an additional form of punishment. In 2019, the Society for Human Resource Management started their Getting Talent Back to Work initiative to encourage companies to hire convicted felons and some states have made it illegal to ask someone if they have any felony convictions.