Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cowboys' Coach, QB Face Music Switzer and Aikman Dance around Stories of Dislike

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cowboys' Coach, QB Face Music Switzer and Aikman Dance around Stories of Dislike

Article excerpt

The story had been bubbling just below the surface all Super Bowl week. On Thursday, it came bursting into the open like a headline in a supermarket tabloid:

Barry and Troy: They Just Don't Like Each Other.

A story in Thursday's Forth Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram said Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman will seek an audience with Jerry Jones after the season to discuss his unhappy relationship with coach Barry Switzer.

The story said Switzer and Aikman have barely spoken to each other since midseason, when Aikman learned that defensive line coach John Blake had complained to Switzer that Aikman seemed to regularly single out black players as targets for his occasional angry outbursts.

Aikman was furious with the accusations, according to the Star-Telegram, and took pains to ask other players and coaches whether they had a problem with his approach.

Nobody seemed to have a problem with it Thursday.

"I have plenty of friends and I have been around plenty of people, and I know the relationship I have with Troy and what a great friend he is," Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin said. "I will take that to my grave. I am as black as anybody you could ever see. I am a black man with a black scarf on and I am wearing black shades. And I know this man loves me."

Defensive end Tony Tolbert added: "There aren't any racial problems. This team is together and we're always together and there isn't a matter of color - black, white, green or whatever."

Blake has since left the Cowboys' staff to become coach at the University of Oklahoma. Through a Sooners spokesperson, Blake said Thursday he was hurt by the racial inferences in the Switzer-Aikman "feud."

In Arizona, Aikman and Switzer spent a good chunk of the Cowboys' Thursday interview session answering questions about their relationship.

"Barry and I have a purely professional relationship based on the common goal, as he said, to win football games," Aikman said. "That's all I've ever asked of anybody within this organization. I've got a number of close friends within this football team, and that's great.

"But the No. 1 requirement for me is we're all going into this thing with the same goal, and that is to win. …

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