A video showing Idaho State University head football coach Mike Kramer shoving wide receiver Derek Graves to the ground during an Oct. 3 practice is gaining national attention.
The 22-second clip was posted on ESPN.com Tuesday night. Graves could not be reached for comment by the Journal but he told ESPN that he’s suffered from neck spasms since the shoving incident.
In the video clip, obtained by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Kramer is shown running across the field at Holt Arena toward Graves and apparently shoving him to the ground. The force from the shove knocked Graves backward about two yards, causing him to lose his footing and fall to the turf. Graves immediately gets off the ground at the end of the video.
“I’ve seen Kramer get in guys’ faces and curse them, but never saw him do anything like this or put his hands on anyone,” Graves said in an interview with the program. “I was humiliated at the moment. If I retaliate, I could lose my senior season. If I didn’t do anything, I would look like a punk. It was a no-win situation.”
Graves told ESPN he reported the incident to Pocatello police on Sunday.
The behavior in the tape has led to an investigation by the Pocatello Police Department and ISU campus police, according to ESPN. Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand could not be reached Tuesday regarding the incident.
Pocatello police have not provided any news releases about the incident since it was reported to them Sunday.
According to the story on ESPN.com, the entire incident was sparked during one-on-one drills when Graves preferred to run the drill against one of the Bengals’ experienced cornerbacks instead of a freshman.
When Graves motioned to another player to face him Kramer ran across the field and, Graves said, used profanity against him before shoving him to the ground. Graves told ESPN that Kramer again used profanity against him after the shove.
Graves told ESPN that since the incident he has suffered from neck spasms and has not been cleared to practice or play by the ISU medical staff. He hasn’t played in a game since the Sept. 29 contest against Sacramento State, a 54-31 Bengal loss. Graves has recorded 36 catches on the season including back-to-back 15 catch efforts against Air Force and Black Hills State.
ISU Athletic Director Jeff Tingey declined to comment about the shoving incident.
“University personnel do no comment on these issues,” Tingey said. “As a whole we don’t comment on personnel issues. There’s an ongoing investigation and we can’t comment.”
Tingey also would not comment when asked if Kramer’s apparent behavior on the video — shoving a player — was unusual for a coach.
According to the ESPN story, Graves and his family retained the services of Alabama attorney Don Jackson, who in turn notified ISU President Arthur Vailas and Tingey about the incident.
Tingey said it would be up to Kramer if he wanted to comment on the incident.
“I can’t speak for Coach Kramer,” Tingey said.
The coach did not make any mention of the incident during his Tuesday afternoon press conference. Kramer did not provide any statements to the media after the story broke on Tuesday.
Kramer is in his second year at the helm of the ISU football team and has recorded a 3-14 record. He is 1-5 so far this season.
ISU officials said the university has brought in an independent third party — a former federal law enforcement officer — to investigate the shoving incident. This is in addition to the investigation by Pocatello police and campus police.
ISU officials said any decision on disciplinary action against Kramer would have to wait until after the outcome of the police investigation.