Ernie Davis was a running back for Syracuse University and the first African-American athlete to win the Heisman Trophy. He was awarded the Heisman trophy after his senior year at Syracuse in 1961, a time when discrimination, racism, and segregation were prevalent in America. However, Ernie’s talent was undeniable. President John F. Kennedy had even followed Ernie’s football career and was impressed with his successes. After his college career Ernie was drafted by the Washington Redskins and then traded to the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately, Ernie was never able to demonstrate his talents in the NFL. In the summer of 1962 Ernie was diagnosed with acute monocytic leukemia and he died a year later in 1963, at the young age of 23.
In 1963, President Kennedy sent a telegram recognizing Ernie’s achievements:
“Seldom has an athlete been more deserving of such a tribute. Your high standards of performance on the field and off the field, reflect the finest qualities of competition, sportsmanship and citizenship. The nation has bestowed upon you its highest awards for your athletic achievements. It’s a privilege for me to address you tonight as an outstanding American, and as a worthy example of our youth. I salute you.”
For those who didn’t realize Tony Todd was in the film, he was the guy who told Top Dollar that Eric “winked at [him] before he jumped out a fourth floor window”. Michael Berryman’s part was cut out of the film, but he played the “Skull Cowboy”, which was a character to help ‘guide’ Draven. Since the director realized that Draven already had the crow to guide him, he felt like the Skull Cowboy was redundant and unneeded, despite the character being in the original graphic novel. Clips of the Skull Cowboy can be found on YouTube, and pictures of him are all over Google.