Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Did John Green act alone?

Were others involved, perhaps lost in the crowd, waiting for a cold brewski at the concession stand, an area that can be seen through a window from a grassy knoll located just outside The Palace at Auburn Hills (Michigan)?

What about the film that captured those horrific images for the entire world to see. Was the cameraman a relative of Abraham Zapruder? Before accepting his gig as a &uot;lens jockey,&uot; was he employed with the Michigan State Schools Book Depository?

Will the United States Attorney General call upon Hertford County Farm Bureau Chief Justice Junie Warren investigate? Will a future President (say, for example, someone like Hillary Clinton) be a part of Warren’s investigation team?

What’s the deal with all these lame questions? When will this column make sense?

Unless you’ve been on a deserted island, or living on another planet (which includes either South Carolina or Virginia), then you must be fully aware of the brawl that broke out late last week during an NBA contest in Detroit where the Pistons hosted the Indiana Pacers.

Appearing on the Nov. 23 broadcast of ABC’s &uot;Good Morning America,&uot; Green denied throwing a cup – containing some type of liquid, perhaps beer – at Indiana player Ron Artest. That player, joined by Pacers teammate Stephen Jackson, stormed into the stands, attacking a fan standing next to Green.

However, videotape – shown frame-by-frame, ala Zapruder’s 8mm film depicting the gruesome events in Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963 – clearly shows some sort of object leaving Green’s hand. The tape also shows Green shoving Artest as he made his way past him in the stands. Then it shows Green punching Artest in the back of the head.

According to an article in the Nov. 24th edition of the Flint (Michigan) Journal, Green was on probation for his third offense of driving under the influence. His criminal record also includes a 1988 assault with intent to do great bodily harm, an attempt to escape from custody that same year, a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon in 1986 and a conviction for check fraud, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections’ online database.

Court records also show that Green was convicted of trying to bribe Bloomfield Hills police Officer Michael Bouchard with Pistons tickets to try to get out of a traffic ticket in 1988. Green pleaded guilty to attempted bribery of the officer, who is now Oakland County’s sheriff. That ordeal was reported by the Detroit Free Press.

Now come the expected lawsuits.

The Journal reported that 26-year-old William Paulson is seeking at least $25,000 in two lawsuits, one filed against the Indiana Pacers basketball team and three of its players. In the suit’s second count, Paulson asks for monetary damages, claiming the Pacers failed to keep their players in line to prevent assaults on fans and others at the game.

Paulson claims he was &uot;brutally and viciously assaulted and beaten&uot; during a brawl that erupted at the end of Friday’s (Nov. 19) game against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Paulson, who works in real estate, was diagnosed with a concussion after the brawl.

Speaking through his attorney, Paulson said he was assaulted by Artest and Jackson, who rushed into the stands and began fighting with fans after Artest was hit with a drink cup, the lawsuit alleges.

The most bizarre occurrence involving the brawl is the fact that a fan tracked down the cup that struck Artest and offered it for sale on Ebay. It was later taken off the market.

Meanwhile, 67-year-old John Ackerman is seeking unspecified damages in a lawsuit. Ackerman, a retired auto worker, claims he was hit by Jermaine O’Neal, another Indiana player involved in the brawl, and then knocked unconscious by a chair that was thrown by a fan. His suit also names Palace Sports & Entertainment Inc., which operates the Pistons’ arena.

Police in Auburn Hills have issued a public plea, asking for help in identifying the fan that threw the chair into the stands. That person may face felony charges.

Now the conspiracy experts will go to work.

Were Green and the mysterious chair-thrower working in unison? What about the single-cup theory – did it graze another fan before striking Artest? Was this an attempt to tarnish the loveable image of the NBA (better known as the Numerous Billionaires Association)? When will this column end?

Right about now.