Artest thinks Vick will emerge 'a better person'

Updated: August 29, 2007, 1:14 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- NBA star Ron Artest was glad to see troubled Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick express remorse for his involvement in a dogfighting operation and would like to reach out to him.

"I want to call him and support him, you know, be there for him," Artest said. "[He] lied and then came back and apologized to everybody, I felt that was classy. ... I was touched that he took full responsibility. I felt that was a real man. I know for a fact he'll come out a better person."

Artest, speaking Tuesday during a press conference for the 17th annual All-Star Classic for Wheelchair Charities that will be held at Madison Square Garden, has experienced his own share of problems on and off the court. He was suspended and fined for the rest of the 2004-05 season for his part in the infamous brawl with fans at the end of a game in Detroit early in that season.

"I think athletes just gotta be more aware," he said. "At times things happen so fast in your life, you just stay living that same lifestyle. You can't do it no more. I just hope people can take the mistakes I made, mistakes other people are making and just learn from them."

I want to call him and support him, you know, be there for him. [He] lied and then came back and apologized to everybody, I felt that was classy. ... I was touched that he took full responsibility. I felt that was a real man. I know for a fact he'll come out a better person.

Ron Artest

Along with being the face for Wheelchair Charities, Artest is getting his image back on track by starting up Xcel Universities, a virtual university to help out youngsters in New York City with academics and no emphasis on basketball.

In Indianapolis, Colts coach Tony Dungy said he was troubled by the symbolism of Vick's troubles and not his absence from the NFL.

"From a societial standpoint, it's a tragedy," Dungy said. "I think that's what we've got to look at and not so much the impact on the NFL or how we're dealing with it. But as a society, we've got to -- especially as African-Americans -- we've got to get the idea that going to prison is not acceptable. It's just not what we should be about. So hopefully we can learn from it. And, hopefully, all of us can learn and maybe help insure that it doesn't happen again."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press