Michigan DUI Charge for Man in Pistons-Pacers NBA Brawl
By: Mary Ann Pekara
Well the fan who was largely responsible for instigating the ugliest brawl in professional sports history is reportedly back to his old tricks again.
John Green, the man accused of throwing a cup at then Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest in a 2004 game against the Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills, was arrested on suspicion of Michigan DUI last week.
The 42-year-old Green was pulled over in Traverse County on September 8th after worried onlookers noticed his car crossing the center line and weaving into the shoulder of U.S. 31.
After being stopped on suspicion of DUI, Green reportedly failed a field sobriety test. He was later given a blood test to determine his blood alcohol content (BAC) level; however, those results are not yet known.
Scheduled for a court hearing on September 24th in Traverse County, Green has twice been charged with DUI in the past. A third such offense is considered a felony under Michigan DUI law.
In addition to his third DUI charge, Green was charged with being a habitual DUI offender. With that charge in mind, he could face up to 15 years in prison under Michigan DUI penalties.
Green's lawyer, Shawn P. Smith, was quoted in a Detroit Free Press story that it could take months for his client's blood test results to come back.
In March of 2006, Green was convicted of assault and battery for punching Artest after the eccentric Pacers' forward ran into the crowd after a cup was thrown at him. Green was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years probation upon conviction. However, he was not found guilty of a second count of throwing a cup at Artest.
As a result of his latest DUI charge, Green now has a probation violation hearing scheduled for September 28th.
Revisiting the Brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills
On November 19, 2004, the visiting Indiana Pacers were heavily beating the Detroit Pistons late in the fourth quarter when Artest fouled Pistons star and current Chicago Bulls center Ben Wallace hard at the basket.
Taking exception to the hard foul late in the game, Wallace shoved Artest, and both teams had to be separated. With the players jostling to midcourt, Artest cockily laid down on the scorer's table as the refs, which included gambling man Tim Donaghy, tried to restore order.
That's when replays showed Green throwing a cup at Artest while he was on the scorer's table. Artest immediately snapped and went into the crowd.
Instead of going after Green, Artest mistook the cup thrower for someone else and grabbed the fan. As Green tried to pull Artest off the other fan, fellow Pacers' knucklehead and resident NBA bad boy Stephen Jackson ran into the crowd and began throwing punches at whoever he could hit.
Pandemonium ensued as Pistons fans went on the court. At one point, Indiana's star power forward Jermaine O'Neal punched out a fan who made his way onto the court and looked ready to throw a punch.
In the ugliest moment in NBA history, the game was called, and Pacers' players were pelted with drinks and food as they made their way back to the locker room amidst the chaos.
NBA Commissioner David Stern would later hand out lengthy suspensions to Artest, Jackson, O'Neal, Wallace and other players following the brutal incident, which still conjures some of the most frightening images of fans and players getting out of control at a sporting event.