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Ahmad Rashad gave the best response about O.J. Simpson, Bill Cosby

‘Maybe you just didn’t know them as well as you thought you knew them’

7:24 PMIn May, a photo from former NFL player and sports broadcaster Ahmad Rashad’s 1985 wedding to The Cosby Show actress Phylicia Rashad began circulating on the internet. In the black-and-white photo, Ahmad Rashad is flanked by his best man O.J. Simpson and his bride’s TV co-star Bill Cosby.

It’s awkward.

Ahmad Rashad, 68, was recently asked about that photo and his (former) friendships with one man accused of gruesomely murdering two people, including his ex-wife, and another accused of sexually assaulting 60 women and convicted on three counts of aggravated indecent assault. Here’s what he told Sports Illustrated:

“Here’s my feeling about that. Everybody has their cross to bear. Those two guys’ crosses are pretty f—— heavy. And that’s all I have to say about it. I’m sure they knew a lot of people. Maybe you just didn’t know them as well as you thought you knew them. You just don’t know. I’m as devastated as everyone else with these two people. It’s like, holy s—. They were in chapters [of my life]. So were a lot of other people. They weren’t the main characters. I’m the main character in my own book. Those two things are just … maybe the most … oh, I can’t even describe it. It’s just … heartbreaking all around. And not so much for them, but the victims. It’s like, that’s f—— crazy. But like I said, that’s their cross.”

While it’s an extremely low bar, this is one of the best explanations a famous man has given over the last few years in response to one (or more) of his friends being accused of a heinous act. Rashad didn’t attempt to defend his friends (he says he had a falling-out with Simpson in 1988 and hasn’t spoken to Cosby in years) or victim-blame the women. He didn’t call the verdicts against Simpson (who was found liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in a civil trial) and Cosby “lynch mobs” instigated to bring down powerful black men.

In 138 words, Rashad showed he believes the victims. And that’s the most powerful thing he could do.