Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 24, 2008

Pistons brawler sentenced to 45 days

He pleaded guilty to 2nd-offense OWI

By ART BUKOWSKI

TRAVERSE CITY -- A man who allegedly helped spark a massive brawl at a Detroit Pistons basketball game in late 2004 is behind bars in Oakland County following a drunken driving incident in Garfield Township.

A Grand Traverse County judge sentenced John Frank Green, 42, of West Bloomfield, to 45 days in jail and two years' probation Jan. 8.

Green pleaded guilty to operating with a suspended license, second-offense operating while intoxicated and having an open intoxicant in his motor vehicle last month.

The judge allowed Green to serve his sentence in the Oakland County Jail, court records show. He is at a work release facility, according to Oakland County Sheriff's Department records.

Green has property in Grand Traverse County's Peninsula Township, according to mortgage documents obtained at the county register of deeds office.

Detroit Pistons officials eventually banned Green from the Palace of Auburn Hills after he allegedly threw a cup at Ron Artest, then a player for the Indiana Pacers, during a Pistons home game on Nov. 19, 2004. Authorities said the action sparked a brawl that spilled into the stands and left several players with suspensions from the National Basketball Association.

The local charges stem from a Sept. 8 incident on U.S. 31 South near Blue Star Drive, court records show. A Grand Traverse sheriff's deputy stopped Green's black suburban for failing to use a turn signal, and the deputy smelled alcohol and noticed Green had bloodshot eyes and trouble balancing.

A test later showed Green had a blood-alcohol content of .172, more than twice the legal limit.

Authorities initially charged Green with felony third-offense drunken driving, according to court records. The records indicate he has three prior drunken driving convictions.

Green also was convicted of misdemeanor assault for punching Artest during the Pistons brawl, according to an Associated Press report.