New York Rangers players huddle around the center ice logo as they prepare for the home opener against the New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Credit: Bruce Bennett/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Sportswriter and author Jeff Pearlman has been dishing out some interesting behind-the-scenes stories and insights on the people he’s interviewed and written about over the years.

Pearlman has talked about the scariest athlete he ever interviewed and the coolest person in sports he’s ever been around, to name a few.

He recently shared a story about an interview with an NHL executive when he was an aspiring journalist in high school that likely would have ended that person’s professional career had he said those things with a major publication.

@jeffpearlmanauthor An NHL executive once told me Blacks didn’t have the physical makeup to play hockey #writersoftiktok #journalism #nhl #rangers #hockey #racism ♬ original sound – Jeff Pearlman

“In 1990, I was sports editor of my high school student newspaper, and somehow I arranged an interview with Joe Bucchino, then the assistant general manager of the New York Rangers. And for a high school kid, this was a huge, huge, huge deal.

“In this interview, I asked him why he didn’t think more Blacks played in the NHL. And Joe Bucchino, assistant general manager of the Rangers, said to me, he thought it was because Blacks didn’t necessarily have the leg strength to play in the National Hockey League. I repeat, he told me Blacks don’t have the leg strength to play in the NHL.

“It’s insanity. If he was dumb enough to say this to the New York Times or Washington Post, he would have been out of hockey.”

Pearlman has shared the story in the past and even posted the column on Twitter/X back in 2018.

In the printed article, Bucchino is quoted as saying “Hockey is not a big Black sport. With only four Black players in the league, it’s shown that Blacks don’t medically have strong enough legs.”

Somehow, the actual quote was even worse than Pearlman’s retelling.

[Jeff Pearlman]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to