Alan Griffin Issues Statement of Apology Following Ejection at Purdue

Matthew Stevens

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Illinois sophomore guard Alan Griffin issued a statement of apology following his ejection the previous night at Purdue.

Following a contested layup by Purdue guard Sasha Stefanovic, Griffin intentionally stepped on the Purdue player with his left foot while he was laying on the ground. 

"I sincerely apologize for my actions toward Saha Stefanovic during last night's game," Griffin's statement reads. "What happened was out of character and does not reflect who I am as a person." 

Griffin's ejection was his second ejection of the 2019-20 season with his first coming at the end of the Braggin' Rights Game loss to Missouri on Dec. 21 in St. Louis when Griffin got two separate technical fouls in the second half.

With 12 minutes and 18 seconds left in the first half Tuesday night at Purdue, game officials called for an early media timeout to head to the monitor to assess the play. Before the end of the timeout, Griffin was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul, which calls for an immediate ejection from the game. 

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Immediately after seeing the play on replay, ESPN color analyst Dan Dakich immediately called Griffin’s removal from the contest. 

“Alan’s unfortunate situation in no way, shape or form...we don’t condone any of that,” Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. “That’s not part of anything we’re trying to do in our program.”

Illinois would win the game Tuesday night 79-62 ending a 15-game home conference win streak for Purdue and ending an 11-plus year streak of losses inside Mackey Arena for the Illini. 

Griffin, who had a career-high 16 points and 12 rebounds in the 63-37 win over Purdue in Champaign just 16 days earlier, was ejected after playing just four minutes. 

“I told him to go to the locker room and then we moved on,” Underwood said. “In order to overcome that, people would have to step up. That (situation) is something we’re going to have to talk about more.” 

Underwood said in the post-game media conference that Griffin apologized to Stefanovic after the game inside the Mackey Arena tunnel between the opposing locker rooms and any further punishment would be handled in-house Wednesday before practice. Griffin's statement also describes an apology to the Purdue guard after the game. 

"Sasha was kind enough to allow me to meet him after the game to offer my apologies," Griffin's statement reads. "To Sasha, (Purdue) Coach (Matt) Painter) and the rest of the Purdue team, my coaches, teammates and Illini Nation I am deeply sorry that this incident caused a distraction in what was otherwise a great night for our team. I promise to Coach Underwood that I will be more mindful in the future." 

Purdue went into the locker room up 30-29 at halftime with Stefanovic having seven of his nine points in the game coming in the first half. After the loss, Stefanovic declined any comment when asked about the situation in the post-game media conference.