By Steve Czaban Special to Published Jun 25, 2008 at 5:15 AM

"Where's the outrage?"
--Bob Dole, quoted during his 1992 Presidential campaign

We have become a sports society without morals.

No, we are not morally challenged. No, the rules are all gone. Our expectations for athletes and their public behavior are lower than Vern Troyer taking a nap.

Nobody dares to "judge" anybody or anything, lest he be called old, racist, cranky, nit-picky, square or, God forbid, "a player hater."

Excuse me. "Playa hatah!"

Things that are wrong do not deserve a defense. Still, even when everybody knows it, these decisions and acts are greeted with a shrug and a "whatever."

Two incidents this week have deepened my cynicism about any remaining ability of sports to raise the moral bar or to set a higher standard than society in general.

The first is Carmelo Anthony's inclusion on the 2008 Olympic basketball team.

I ask a simple question:


Yeah, yeah. He's one of the best players in the world. Yeah, yeah. He was great two years ago in the World Championships (where we again took third place. Hooray!). Yeah, yeah, he wants to "make up" for the 2004 disappointment in Greece.

So what?

This is a guy who openly yearned to go home last time, simply because he was sitting on the bench. He admitted to sitting in his hotel room, playing video games and wishing the whole experience was over.

So much for the ol' "pride of representing your country."

I'm somebody who believes in the "fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me" theory. ‘Melo got us in 2004 with a cancerous, selfish, immature, "can't do" attitude and we've got the bronze to show for it.

Not again. This is not holding a grudge. A grudge is a more irrational unwillingness to let bygones be bygones. This is just simple principle. We tried it, ‘Melo. It didn't work. Have a nice day.

We don't need Carmelo Anthony to win the gold medal going away in China. In fact, we probably need a few more guys to set screens and rebound. With Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James already on the team, the position of "scoring show pony" is stocked.

Oh, and I didn't even bring up the DUI arrest that has landed him a two-game suspension starting next year for the Nuggets. Or the 15-game suspension he got for sucker punching Mardy Collins of the Knicks in a brawl two seasons ago. Or the cameo appearance in Baltimore's pro drug-dealer video called "Stop Snitching."

Call me a stickler for protocol, but if the Olympics are considered a higher privilege than just playing in the NBA, why would we allow a suspended criminal to be one of our Olympians?

Ah, but excuse me. I'm judging now. And nobody these days wants to judge anybody, or anything.

Where are the serious NBA people lining up to condemn Shaquille O'Neal for his juvenile rap against Kobe? You know, the one where Shaq combines illiteracy ("You know how I be...") with vulgarity ("Kobe, ni****, how does my ass taste?") with a little dollop of racism ("Like a white boy being trying to be more ni**** than me.")

This is the stuff of losers. Shaq is a loser with a big mansion and four championship rings.

I know a loser when I see one.

No matter what bitter history the two players may share, step back to marvel at how low the bar has been dropped. A star player is rapping "ni**** how does my ass taste?" to another star player.

Good grief.

(Note: You may have noticed this, I sure did. Most of the "mainstream" news accounts of this rap on ESPN and other outlets have bleeped out some of Shaq's words. I had to go find the raw version, where I heard him call Kobe the n-word. Most of the same printed reports in those outlets, will not include, much less discuss the utterly racist nature of his "white boy" rant using the same vile word. Hmm. Wonder why that is? I'll let everyone come to their own conclusions. I have mine.)

Does this happen in any other sport?

Would Peyton Manning rap a lil' ditty about Tom Brady losing the Super Bowl? Would David Ortiz rap a few bars about turncoat Johnny Damon joining the rival Yankees? Would Tiger Woods knock out a "just kidding" rendition of "Phil Mickelson's big ol' t*tties" at a karaoke bar?

In a sports world I once knew, this kind of obscene act would generate swift condemnation and probably action by the commissioner, who would denounce the acts with a suspension and fine.

Not now.

The NBA is merely a sports extension of the hip-hop industry, and it was David Stern who set the two up on their first date.

Jason Whitlock has been loudly out in front of this issue for some time now. As a black sportswriter utterly disgusted with how the thug culture is poisoning black culture (and by extension pro sports culture in leagues that are overwhelmingly black) Whitlock pulls no punches.

Writes Whitlock:

"Our self-hatred has been set to music and reinforced by a pervasive culture that promotes a crab-in-barrel mentality.

"You're damn straight I blame hip-hop for playing a role in the genocide of American black men. When your leading causes of death and dysfunction are murder, ignorance and incarceration, there's no reason to give a free pass to a culture that celebrates murder, ignorance and incarceration."

O'Neal is a role model whether he wants to be or not. And kids really do pay attention. Now that Shaq has seen no harm in this, I can guarantee the following:

Some high school basketball player somewhere will "freestyle a killer rap" that "disses" a former teammate.

It will be uploaded to the Internet.

And something bad will happen next.

Mark my words.

Again, I ask: Where's the outrage?

Steve Czaban Special to

Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.