Men must do better, be better
In my own defense, I write 94 columns a year and the 2005 accusation was not nearly as compelling or convincing as those that exploded in 2014. Still ... I forgot about it. It did not become part of my mental file on Cosby.
That lapse embarrassed me then. It embarrasses me now.
Because it is, I think, emblematic of the way too many men regard the sexual harassment of women. Even when we think we take it seriously, we don't take it seriously. The Los Angeles Times reports that rumors of Toback's predations went back to the '80s. Weinstein's pervy-ness was supposedly an open secret. O'Reilly's alleged behavior was likewise well-known.
Why, then, did the men around them not speak out? Stand up? Decline to work with them? It seems that even when we fancy ourselves women's allies, we too often fail to impose any sanction -- even the sanction of our disapproval, even the sanction of memory -- on the predators among us. They pay no price.
On the contrary, one guy bragged of being a sexual predator last year and he was elected president.
So the message of this moment could not be more clear: Men must do better. Men must be better.
And this one will.
(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via e-mail at email@example.com.)