After the Dallas Cowboys ended their season with a thud Sunday, head coach Mike McCarthy was stalking off the field when a cameraman apparently came too close for his comfort.
An image of McCarthy appearing to stiff-arm the camera lens of KXAS-TV cameraman Noah Bullard became a symbol of the ugly reality that the Cowboys had lost a game they could have won.
The San Francisco 49ers held on to defeat Dallas 19-12 to advance to the NFC championship game.
“It’s very tough,” McCarthy said long after the game, according to Yahoo Sports.
“It’s raw in the locker room right now,” he said.
But commentators were not accepting excuses.
In an Op-Ed in USA Today that used the word “classless” in its headline to describe McCarthy, Andy Nesbitt said the coach’s conduct was even worse than the bizarre final play that sealed the 49ers’ win.
“What also needs to be looked at is McCarthy’s actions after the play when a photographer snapped a photo of the angry coach pushing a cameraman away from him as he walked off the field,” Nesbitt wrote.
“Yeah, you just can’t do that. Hopefully the league or the team fines him for that. Not cool at all,” he said
Sean Keeley also laid into McCarthy on Awful Announcing.
“Understandably, McCarthy wasn’t in a good mood after all of that. But that doesn’t give him the right to put his hands on a cameraman while walking off the field,” he wrote.
Bullard later tweeted that the incident looked worse than it was and said the coach had apologized.
“Thank you to everyone that has reached out regarding the Mike McCarthy incident,” he tweeted. “I can see how the photo appeared like he pushed me but it was more of a hand to the lens. I did meet with coach McCarthy privately in his office and he did apologize.”
Thank you to everyone that has reached out regarding the Mike McCarthy incident. I can see how the photo appeared like he pushed me but it was more of a hand to the lens. I did meet with coach McCarthy privately in his office and he did apologize. @NBCDFW#DallasCowboyspic.twitter.com/LuOfPVRqhq
In reporting on the incident, Yahoo Sports said no contact was ever made between the coach and the Bullard, but that Bullard bent back to get out of the way because he was unable to take a step backward.
As for the final play of the game, McCarthy had little to say, according to NFL.com.
“It didn’t get going,” he said.
“I really don’t want to get into detail on it, but that obviously wasn’t the plan. It’s obviously a gadget play or whatever to end it. It’s the last-play-situation call we practice,” he said.
The 49ers will face off Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, who on Saturday made short work of the New York Giants, 38-7.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.