Mike McCarthy apologizes to cameraman after postgame misunderstanding

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — After the Dallas Cowboys lost a 19-12 divisional playoff game to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, head coach Mike McCarthy said emotions ran high.

“It’s very tough,” McCarthy said. “In those moments, you just have to be real and genuine.

“It’s raw in the locker room right now.”

Emotions were raw, too, as the Cowboys left the Levi’s Stadium field after the game. A photo of McCarthy approaching the tunnel near the western end zone opened questions about whether the coach had shoved a Dallas NBC station photojournalist.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy appeared to shove Dallas-area photojournalist Noah Bullard after losing to the 49ers on Sunday, but sources confirmed to Yahoo Sports it wasn't as bad as it looked in pictures. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)
Dallas-area photojournalist Noah Bullard said he received an apology from Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy after an on-field run-in after Sunday's playoff game. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

The incident, multiple people familiar confirmed to Yahoo Sports, was misinterpreted. NBC 5 Sports’ Noah Bullard later tweeted video of the incident to clarify the misunderstanding.

“I can see how the photo appeared like he pushed me,” Bullard tweeted. “But it was more of a hand to the lens.”

Bullard, like many photographers and videographers in postgame field interactions, was inches from McCarthy’s exit path. McCarthy extended his right arm to make space and seemingly obstruct the lens. He did not make contact with Bullard, nor did Bullard fall from the extended hand. Bullard said he bent back when he didn’t have a chance to step back but stayed on his feet.

Bullard tweeted, and confirmed to Yahoo Sports by text, that he and McCarthy met afterward in a conversation in which McCarthy apologized. The two met in the coach’s office of the visiting locker room, Bullard and a team spokesman confirmed.

The team spokesman declined further comment.

Bullard added that the “incident appears worse on still photos” and he was “totally fine.”