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Disappointing defeat leaves Mike McCarthy in disarray as coaching staff faces scrutiny’..

A camera operator claims Mike McCartney did not force him out of the way Sunday night after the Dallas Cowboys’ season-ending loss to the San Francisco 49ers, despite a widely circulated photo that looked to show the Cowboys coach doing so.

“I can see how the photo appeared like he pushed me, but it was more of a hand to the lens,” Noah Bullard, a photojournalist for NBC 5 Sports in Dallas-Fort Worth, tweeted late Sunday night.

Josie Lepe photographed the incident for the Associated Press, showing McCarthy with his right arm fully extended and his palm covering the lens, and Bullard leaning backward while holding the camera.

Bullard tweeted the footage his camera captured at the time.

Bullard also wrote that “I did meet with coach McCarthy privately in his office and he did apologize” after the incident.

It makes sense that McCarthy would be in no mood to be filmed following his team’s 19-12 loss to the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The Cowboys haven’t won a divisional playoff game since 1995, and McCarthy had to have known that a number of his decisions already were being second-guessed on social media and elsewhere.

Some of McCarthy’s calls under scrutiny include: punting from the San Francisco 40 on fourth-and-5 with the score 9-9 midway through the third quarter; opting for a field goal from the San Francisco 25 on fourth-and-eight with the score 16-9 with 11:03 remaining in the fourth quarter; and punting from the Dallas 18 on fourth-and-10 with the score 19-12 with just over two minutes remaining (Dallas did have all three timeouts remaining).

Also, there was the Cowboys’ much-mocked final play of the game, which went nowhere after appearing doomed from the start.

Still, shove or not, McCarthy does come off as a big baby for attempting to prevent Bullard from doing his job. But at least he apologized.

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