Iona's Roland Griffin says he punched assistant coach in self-defense

Iona senior forward Roland Griffin said he was kicked off the team after a physical altercation in which he punched an assistant coach earlier in the week.

Griffin told Stadium in a story published Friday that he punched Garfield "Ricky" Johns multiple times Monday morning but said he did so in self-defense after Johns "tried to wrestle me down" after a face-to-face verbal confrontation in the locker room.

"It was really heated," Griffin told Stadium. "He eventually grabbed me by the jacket and tried to throw me down on the ground physically. We were against the locker, wrestling against the locker. He was grabbing me and holding me.

"He tried to wrestle me down, and I ended up on top. I'm not going to let another man physically do that to me. I punched him four or five times, then I stopped."

According to the report, Johns was hospitalized with a head injury after the altercation, was later released and had yet to return to work this week.

"Iona College takes all matters of health and safety seriously," the school said in a statement to Stadium. "We take every action necessary to ensure the well-being of the members of our community. The College does not comment on student disciplinary matters or student information."

The 6-foot-7 Griffin, who averaged 11.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for the Gaels last season, is still listed on the roster on the university's athletic website.

Stadium reports that Griffin met with coach Tim Cluess on Monday, had a hearing Tuesday and was told Wednesday that he would face a school disciplinary suspension -- effectively barring him from all campus activities, including classes -- through May 31, 2020.

Griffin and his mother reportedly filed a police report Friday. According to Stadium, the university hasn't taken any disciplinary action against Johns.

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