Cowboys Owner Fines Switzer $75,000 Is Largest for Coach

By The | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), August 7, 1997 | Go to article overview

Cowboys Owner Fines Switzer $75,000 Is Largest for Coach


The, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Barry Switzer was fined a record $75,000 Wednesday by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who said his coach's arrest on a gun charge brought "pain and embarrassment" to a team trying to repair its image.

The fine is the largest imposed on an NFL coach.

"It's a serious and significant fine," Jones said. "I made the fine what I made it because of his role as a coach. It would have been different if he were a player."

Jones said Switzer's job was not in jeopardy.

Switzer, who earns an estimated $1 million a year, said he accepted the fine and the responsibility for his actions.

"It hurts. It hurts not only financially but much more than the dollars," he said.

"I really do understand the seriousness of this incident, regardless of how innocent, how unintentional, it was. It certainly caused a lot of harm for a lot of people and certainly me," Switzer said.

The fine will be donated to the families of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty.

The NFL said the penalty was sufficient and that it would not impose its own punishment.

"The Cowboys' fine sends a clear message that this type of gun-related misconduct, whether intentional or mistaken, will not be tolerated by the Cowboys and violates the league's weapons policy," Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said.

The fine surpasses the $30,000 that Tagliabue imposed on then-Cincinnati coach Sam Wyche for failing to allow women reporters into the team's locker room after a 1990 game.

Jones became emotional, nearly breaking into tears, as he spoke of attending a team meeting just before his news conference to announce the fine.

"I asked our team if they would not let the pain and embarrassment that our club would go through over this not go for naught," he said.

Jones has worked hard this year to repair the Cowboys' off-the-field image, and he clearly was embarrassed by Switzer's arrest Monday for carrying a loaded, unlicensed, .38-caliber pistol in his luggage at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Switzer has said he put the gun in his bag to hide it from children visiting his home but forgot to remove it before going to the airport.

Jones said Switzer reacted well when told of the fine. …

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