NBA star disagrees with backlash against Tiger

Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest says an open letter to

Tiger Woods was meant to encourage the golf superstar because

Artest believes media coverage of Woods’ mistakes has been

unfair.

“I just really disagree, I guess you call it backlash,” Artest

said on Wednesday. “Hopefully, he gets everything in order and

gets back on track, his personal (life). Then after that I can’t

wait to see him play golf again.”

Artest said he was motivated to write the letter on his Web site

after talking with friends because of the negative coverage Woods

has received since acknowledging marital infidelity following his

Nov. 27 car accident near his Orlando-area home.

Artest doesn’t know Woods and does not want the golfer to

contact him about the comments he posted on Tuesday.

In his post, Artest called Woods a perfect role model while

sharing some of his own story, including that he fathered a child

with another woman after having two with his girlfriend who later

became his wife. Artest said in his blog he has two boys and two

girls.

“I just felt it was a situation where we heard one of the

greatest is not going to play golf, a sport that he loves,” Artest

said. “OK, look at me. I’m over here in L.A., having a great

season, back on track and I make way more mistakes than him.

Hopefully that’s some words of encouragement.”

Artest’s blog post called Woods a “perfect role model for me

and my sons.”

He said on Wednesday that Woods was still a perfect role model

and that he would tell his sons nothing about Woods’ admissions

because the golfer’s personal life was none of their business.

“I don’t get into somebody’s personal (life),” said Artest,

whose team was in Milwaukee to play the Bucks on Wednesday. “You

always raise your kids the right way and let them know what’s right

and wrong and when they get older, they’ll make their own

decisions.”

Artest also shot down a question about the availability of women

who might want to be associated with professional athletes.

“That’s not true. No,” he said. “There are a lot of good

husbands.”

Since signing with the Lakers, the 30-year-old Artest has made

other headlines. He recently appeared in only his boxers for

late-night TV’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and told a magazine he would

get drunk during halftime of games while with the Chicago Bulls

after buying alcohol at a nearby liquor store.

“I don’t get in trouble. Media blows it up, but I never look at

myself as getting in trouble because I don’t care what people say

about me,” he said.

Artest said the scrutiny of Woods was different than when he

entered the stands in a brawl with fans at Detroit n November 2004,

which led to a 73-game suspension, the harshest for a fight in NBA

history.

“I’m different. But I don’t mind when people talk about me,”

Artest said. “I didn’t mind getting backlash from media. It’s a

little different situation.”