AUSTIN, Texas - What was supposed to be a routine television interview became a much talked about escapade.
Barry Switzer's live interview Thursday night with WFAA sportscaster Dale Hansen turned into an animated rebuttal as Switzer screamed often and playfully punched Hansen in the shoulder to emphasize each point.
It all started early Thursday morning when Hansen reported on Norm Hitzges' KLIF radio show that there's dissension on the Dallas coaching staff. During the six-minute live TV interview, Switzer brought the subject up, denied the report, and then accused Hansen of "fabricating stories. " "You're the guy who walked up to (owner) Jerry (Jones) last week and you said Tony Casillas had a brain tumor," Switzer screamed.
"You guys manufacture everything. 'Oh, I've got a radiologist'. . . " "Did you ever see that story on the air? " Hansen asked.
"No, but you went over and told Jerry that," Switzer said.
"I did not tell him that. I asked a question. " "You were false about that. . . " Switzer screamed.
When Hansen said coaches and players want the head coach to step in and stop the dissension on the staff, Switzer responded: "I don't think you know what you're talking about and they don't either, Dale Hansen. There is no problem here on this staff of the Dallas Cowboys, I can promise you that. " During the interview, Switzer denied there's an internal power struggle among his coaches. "They know who the boss is and I am the boss. Don't you ever question that and Jerry Jones knows that, too. .
. I can go back and sit on my couch any day because I came to Dallas with more money than Jimmy (Johnson) left with. " Switzer and Hansen continued to trade barbs, even after the cameras were turned off. Two minutes later, Switzer left in a golf cart driven by scouting director Larry Lacewell.
"I was just having fun with Dale," Switzer said Friday after practice at St. Edward's University, the final practice in Austin.
"I thought it was great TV. " Hansen, who also does color commentary for the Cowboys radio network, said the primary reason the incident is receiving so much attention is "it's been a boring camp. If Emmitt Smith broke his leg today everybody wouldn't be talking about it. " But Smith didn't break his leg. Since the baseball strike is old news, the Switzer-Hansen interview was discussed ad nauseam on radio talk shows all day Friday. While talk-show hosts defended Hansen, saying he was doing his job, some callers said Hansen is arrogant. They said Switzer had every right to give an animated rebuttal.
Oddly enough, the heated discussion overshadowed Switzer answering Hansen's "What if you lose to Pittsburgh" question by guaranteeing a victory in the season opener.
"He challenged me, and I like to take challenges. That's why I said that," Switzer said. "I believe we can beat anybody we go out and play. Every team I've ever coached did. They believed it, and I think it had a helluva lot to do with us winning, too. . .
"It all comes down to winning and losing. If I win, it doesn't make any difference. But if I lose, I don't care what kind of butt-kissing I do, (the media) will tear my head off. " Switzer says it's nothing new. He says he's been scrutinized his entire career.
"I've had more bad written about me probably than any other coach that's ever been on the collegiate level," Switzer said.
"I've always had the black hat, but that didn't bother me as long as those guys wrote the truth. " Switzer said dealing with the media is a two-way street. He says reporters have a responsibility to check out facts before going public.
"These guys have the mike. They've got the pen. They sit in front of the camera and have barrels of ink. I can't win that war," Switzer said. "I get one or two shots to say what I feel about it. " With so much attention being given to the TV interview, Switzer once again laid out his ground rules.
"Regardless of whether you're against me or for me, I'm going to help you do your job. I'll be as good as anybody you've ever dealt with. I don't mind you being against me as long as you're fair . .
. I will tell you this: If they go the other way and create things, and manufacture things, and do it vindictively, then, hey, I'll never have anything to do with them. " Both Switzer and Hansen said they have no hard feelings.
"I was just having fun with Dale," Switzer said. "He wasn't unfair. " Hansen said, "Some people think I dislike Barry Switzer because I'm a Nebraska fan and I'm a Tom Osborne fan, but that's not the case. I like Barry Switzer. I even liked him when he was coaching at Oklahoma. " BIOG: NAME:Archive ID: 584249