The Syracuse University running back Ernie Davis blazed trails on and off the football field as the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy. But he didn’t gain all those yards while wearing a pair of Nikes, as a new statue suggests.
The bronze sculpture, unveiled on the campus on Saturday, depicts Mr. Davis wearing Nike cleats and a jersey with a swoosh across his chest, the Associated Press reports. The problem? Mr. Davis hung up his cleats at Syracuse in 1961, years before the brand existed.
The university said the mistakes were those of the sculptor, who also included a too-modern helmet. Syracuse said there are plans to remove the swoosh and alter the helmet to replicate the one used by Mr. Davis.
“The sculptor realized there was an era-specific discrepancy with the shoes and the helmet,” a Syracuse spokesman, Kevin Morrow, told the AP.
Nike, which has a contract with the university, pleaded ignorance. “We didn’t even know the statue was being erected,” said a company spokesman, Kejuan Wilkins.
The Express, a movie about Mr. Davis’s life, had its premier in Syracuse on Friday. Judging by still photos from the film, it looks as if the filmmakers stayed true to the era and avoided making a dollar or two from some old-fashioned product placement. —David DeBolt