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Outrage I say! Outrage!
October 13, 2008 - Jody Murphy
National, civic and in this case, state outrage sure seems to be the rage.
The latest? West Virginian's outrage over WVU fans portrayal in the movie "The Express: The Ernie Davis story."
Mountaineers far and wide are up in arms because WVU fans (from 1959) are portrayed as harsh racists in the film when Syracuse, led by Davis, makes a trip to Morgantown for a game.
Such treatment never happened, according to just about any and everyone who attended or played in the game, that actually occured a year later, and is still around to talk about it.
Long time sports writer Mickey Furfari and several former WVU and Syracuse players, all agree the incidents directed at Davis during the movie never happened.
The portrayal has led to all sorts of outrage, including from Gov. Joe Manchin, a former WVU player.
Look, I get it. I do.
We are NOT - NOT! - a state of stump-jumpin' rednecks who hate all things not white or christian. We just like everybody else and just like everybody else there a few bad apples in the bunch. That shouldn't cause anyone to disregard the whole place as rotten.
First off, Syracuse coach Ben Schwartzwalder was a W.Va boy, born and raised who coached high school football in Parkersburg, before heading north. He had a good relationship with WVU coaches and several of his former players, who are WVU fans.
See the story I wrote on Schwartzwalder a few weeks ago.
Davis was from nearby Uniontown, Pa.. Morgantown was a virtual home game for him. I can't imagine Davis getting such a rude reception from fans, having spent part of his life just up the road.
But, consider this... If you look at Syracuse's 1959 schdeule, West Virginia was as far south as Syracuse could have traveled - until the Cotton Bowl. I know and you know West Virginia isn't really a southern state - see the state's history - but what other locale did film-makers have to portray "southern" racism against Davis? Boston College?
It would have been nice to have WVU and its fans portrayed as nice folks - like "We are Marshall" but we can't always be the good guys.
Let's take the good with the bad and let it go.
Please see the movie and enjoy it for what it is; a great story about one of the best college football running backs you never heard of.
Don't forget about Schwartzwalder. A W.Va product and former PHS coach. Any kind of crap directed at WVU fans, because of their portrayal is easily overshadowed by the good deeds and conscience of Floyd Ben Schwartzwalder. He's enough to make any and all West Virginians proud!
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The greatest college running back you probably never heard of.