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Archive for Thursday, September 18, 2008

61 Heisman winner wore Nikes? Oops!

September 18, 2008

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— Ernie Davis never wore Nikes, until now. A new statue of the first black player to win the Heisman Trophy depicts him in modern-day football gear - including Nike cleats.

The problem is that Davis led Syracuse to the national title in 1959 and won the Heisman two years later, before Nike was formed.

The university unveiled the Davis statue last Saturday, a day after "The Express" - a movie about Davis' life - had its world premiere at the Landmark Theatre in downtown Syracuse. The film opens nationwide in October.

Call it an honest mistake by the sculptor, 82-year-old Bruno Lucchesi of New York City, who said he was asked to work off a picture of Davis. The school said it also sent him football gear.

The statue has Davis wearing his famous No. 44 jersey, but "NIKE" is inscribed on the heel of each cleat, there's a swoosh on his chest, and he's holding a helmet much different from the one he wore.

"The sculptor realized there was an era-specific discrepancy with the shoes and the helmet," Syracuse University spokesman Kevin Morrow said Wednesday.

Morrow said the university was aware of the errors before an online blogger first pointed them out, but there wasn't enough time "to take corrective action before this past weekend's activities."

"Bruno will be making the appropriate modifications as soon as possible," Morrow said.

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