No charges will be filed against Eastern Washington University football coach Mike Kramer, accused last month of slapping a player while the two were alone in Kramer’s office.
“I have reviewed the evidence in the case regarding Coach Kramer and I have made a decision not to prosecute,” Spokane County deputy prosecutor Dave Nehen said Monday. “There will be no complaint filed in this matter at this time.”
EWU junior backup receiver and kick returner Antonio Morgan had accused Kramer of slapping Morgan’s face during a Jan. 12 argument that culminated with Morgan’s removal from the team.
Kramer, 40, denied the charge, deferring further comment until Monday’s ruling.
“It just didn’t occur,” Kramer said Monday. “That’s why I was amazed that it gathered so much momentum so fast. It simply is an incident that occurred behind closed doors. After all the investigation, everything, only he and I truly know what happened.
“And I stand by what I originally said - that I vehemently deny ever touching him or accosting him in any sense, in any manner.”
Morgan, a 1991 graduate of Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, has reportedly left Cheney for Seattle. Attempts to reach him Monday night were unsuccessful.
Contacted two days after the incident, Morgan related his side of the story.
He said he became concerned upon hearing that Kramer had referred to him as a bad influence on several freshmen and went to see the coach.
“My name was mentioned, so I went up there (to Kramer’s office) to see where me and him stood,” Morgan said then. “So I went up there, and (Kramer) just started ego-trippin’. And he was just getting madder and madder, and then, I guess, when I tried to say something, he was insulted or something.
“So, I guess it just caused him to slap me, you know, because he was like flexing his authority, man.”
The 5-foot-9, 185-pound Morgan said he felt intimidated by Kramer, a 260-pound former offensive lineman at the University of Idaho.
According to Kramer, Morgan “stormed” into the coach’s office at 12:15 p.m. on Jan. 12.
“Antonio was upset, swearing profusely,” Kramer said Monday. “I asked him to sit down, and he refused. I raised my voice to get him to sit down and he refused, and after about the 14th or 15th obscenity, I opened the door and said, `That’s it, you’re done.’
“He crossed over a line that I simply was not going to tolerate,” Kramer added. “And I showed him out of the office. I never physically touched him, grasped him, pushed him or handled him in any kind of way.”
Kramer, whose Eagles went 4-7 under the first-year head coach last season, said Morgan’s allegation will not change the way he deals with his players.
“I think the confidence between a student-athlete and his college head coach is one of the prize elements of a quality program,” Kramer said, “and it has not affected or impeded my belief in the way that that should work.”
The deputy prosecutor’s investigation was delayed several times when new information surfaced, including an audio tape of a discussion between an EWU student reporter and men’s basketball coach John Wade.
There were reports the conversation - taped in Wade’s office, several doors down from Kramer’s - included background audio of the Kramer-Morgan argument, as well as a noise that could have been interpreted as a slap.
“It seems a little ludicrous to me that the sound of a person slapping another person would go through a door, down 50 feet of a hallway and be distinctive enough for someone to know (what it was),” Kramer said.