Man of Principle

Ernie Davis, the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy, was born on this date in 1939. Davis played for Syracuse — he was on their undefeated National Championship team as a sophomore in 1959 — and wore the same number as Jim Brown, 44. He was the number one pick in the 1962 NFL draft, selected by the Washington franchise. Davis was the first African-American drafted by the Washington team, and then only under pressure from Stewart Udall who, as Secretary of the Interior, controlled the stadium where the team played. Davis refused to play for Washington, hence the trade to Cleveland. During the summer of 1962 Davis was diagnosed with acute monocytic leukemia; he died the following May.