NBA star disagrees with backlash against Tiger

NBA star disagrees with backlash against Tiger

Published Dec. 16, 2009 7:54 p.m. ET

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.''