The “Cos” needs to come clean

Published 12:36 pm Sunday, November 23, 2014

My father was hardly a perfect man (in practical sense, who’s is?); but he was someone who was upstanding, dignified, open-hearted, and strict when he had to be.

I guess it will always be in my mind – biased opinion, or not – that he was what all good fathers should be: a good man.

I thought of Dad quite a bit this week when all the allegations re-surfaced accusing comedian Bill Cosby of being a sexual predator. I had to not just put my own father’s life and the life lessons he taught me into perspective, but through the barrage of media reports I had to ask myself one fundamental question about the Cosby situation: Do we put our fantasy Dads on a higher pedestal than our real ones?  If that’s so, then why?

How could Mr. Fat Albert, Mr. Jell-O pudding, Cliff Huxtable, Mr. Perfect Father – the same man I watched mourn the loss of his only son with dignity some years ago – how could this same man have stooped so low?

Or am I back to having placed him too high?

I’ve followed Cosby since he broke barriers on television as Alexander Scott (yes, I even remembered the character’s name) in “I Spy”.  Before that there were his award-winning comedy albums on vinyl, then there was the variety show, the movies, several sitcoms, and I even caught him live in concert in Wilmington in 1991 at the North Carolina Azalea Festival.

What you saw there wasn’t name dropping as much as an expression of my respect for him as an artist, a humanitarian, an educator, and a role-model.

This isn’t a ‘Say it ain’t so, Joe’ moment. This is about all that the man is supposed to have stood for.  One accusation would probably be random – a ‘he said-she said’, two would start to be a trend, but three or more and that gets you thinking and maybe it even forces you – under that glaring spotlight – to say a lot more than ‘no comment’.

Cosby’s public accusers are up to six – and climbing.

As tragic as this is, and let me be clear here, the greater tragedy is what has reportedly been done by Cosby to his accusers. Beyond that is what this has done to the sense of truth.

As sitcom-Dad-supreme, Cosby always projected on us how we were supposed to behave in life.  Now he has a chance to be out front with his own life-lesson, and he hasn’t taken the high road in his own personal life.

As for his accusers, there’s a question to me of how this many cases could’ve existed for this long and none of them ever reached the court docket.  There’s no evidence now, just the word of the accusers; but strong words indeed.

Golfer Tiger Woods hid his infidelities while he basked in the glowing spotlight of celebrity. Now, after it all came crashing down it’s been a slow process of forgiveness.  Yes, many of his millionaire endorsements have returned, but who’s to say it would’ve returned sooner if he’d owned up to what he did earlier than he did.

Will a 77-year-old comedian’s reputation, ashamedly tarnished, survive?

By the time you read this I hope Cosby will have at least made a comment on, if not outright owned up to, the accusations surrounding him. He’s never been charged, and all of these accusations are for incidents that happened decades ago. Nobody wants to challenge Cosby because of what he represents for America, and not just Black America.

It would be better still if he represented standing up and telling the truth. Because that’s what millions of Dad’s represent in this country every day.

Gene Motley is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7211.