DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: K'Andre Miller speaks to the media after being selected twenty-second overall by the New York Rangers during the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas.
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The New York Rangers hosted a Zoom webcast with their 2018 first-round draft pick K’Andre Miller, but it took an unfortunate turn. 

Frank Curto

New York Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller hosted a webcast for fans on Friday afternoon via Zoom. The event was open to fans who could participate in the event when they signed up through the team’s official Twitter account.

Miller, 20, recently signed an entry-level contract with the Blueshirts and will begin next season playing in the AHL for the Hartford Wolf Pack. His professional debut was delayed due to the obvious COVID-19 outbreak which has canceled the remainder of the AHL season.

From his home with his mom, the quarantined Miller discussed several different topics throughout the webinar.

The first question seems to be a popular one with athletes and stars staying at home: What shows are you watching right now? Miller has been binge-watching “Designated Survivor” on Netflix.

That answer led to what has to be the second most popular question: Have you watched Tiger King? No, he has not. Though he was supposed to watch it with his mom, he opted to play Xbox with his buddies.

The conversation then went to who he would like to be quarantined with from the AHL/NYR family. Miller answered Vinni Lettieri because he knows him really well and he is a great cook.

Its always about the food!

Miller went on to say that the first thing he wants to do once everything returns to normal is to catch up with the rest of his family who is in southern Minnesota.

This webcast can be informative and this one was no exception, Miller says the “definition of my career” was when his high school coach moved him from forward to defense.

The player he feels he resembles in the NHL is defenseman Seth Jones, “a big body, agile, good with the puck and good defensively.” The Rangers will find themselves in a great position if he can play the same style as Jones at MSG.

Miller has a great opportunity to make the team within the next two seasons. He is eager to learn, seems to be coachable, and has the hunger and determination to be a New York Ranger.

Webcast Turns Ugly

Unfortunately, the Rangers’ attempts to provide the fans with some interaction with an up-and-coming prospect turned ugly. Miller was the subject of a racial slur during his Zoom webcast.

As the event began with Miller at his home, the host began the segment asking about where he was staying during this unusual time with COVID-19 hitting the world as it has.

On the Zoom page, the chat was lit up with comments and unfortunately for all involved, they were racist statements constantly being repeated.

The host deactivated the chat feature, but the damage had been. already done. Miller being the professional he is, even at the young age of 20, continued the webinar without interruption.

Fans on Twitter were dismayed and furious that such comments would be made towards the club’s future superstar. The New York Rangers were delayed in making a formal statement, but eventually sounded off on the incident.

The Zoom event took place at 3 p.m. ET, but the Rangers didn’t release a statement until 7:30 p.m.

The National Hockey League released its own statement a few minutes later.

The club and the league both condemned the racist behavior. The Rangers wrote an investigation would take place into the matter.

This might have been a pattern of “Zoombombing,” where bad faith actors access chats for the sole purpose of posting hate speech and/or pornography.

Either way, this has no part in today’s society. It’s a shame that this happened while the team and Miller are trying to help people pass the time in their homes under quarantine.

Instead, Rangerstown now has to endure another evil in the world, one that has been around much too long. Credit to Miller for handling the situation with class and poise.

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