MILWAUKEE (AP) — Lakers forward Ron Artest says an open letter to Tiger Woods that was posted on his Web site 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 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 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 published Tuesday on his Web site.
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 children with his girlfriend who later became his wife. Artest said in his blog he now 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 Wednesday that Woods is still a perfect role model and that he would tell his sons nothing about Woods’ admissions because the golfer’s personal life is 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 night. “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 “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and told a magazine he would get drunk during games while with Chicago by buying alcohol at a liquor store down the street.
“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 Wood is different from when he entered the stands in a brawl at Detroit on Nov. 19, 2004, which led to his suspension for the rest of the season.
“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.”
Not even Artest is sure whether Tiger will regain his once-dominant stature.
“It’s hard to say because there’s nothing that he can really — family wise is the only thing. … That’s the only recovery,” Artest said. “Golf, I don’t know if that’s a recovery. He’ll just be playing, playing a sport that he loves and hopefully he comes back soon.”