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The Legal Side of the Blind Side

Isn’t it weird when someone brings something up you haven’t heard of in a while, and then all of a sudden that thing makes some kind of headline.


Well, that’s what happened with the subject of this blog.


I don’t remember who it was, but somebody randomly asked me if I knew what Michael Oher was up to nowadays. To be honest, I hadn’t thought of that name in a while. All I knew about him was that he was no longer in the league anymore. Of course the conversation then moved to the biopic of Oher that we’ve all seen called The Blind Side. The film tells the story of Oher, a homeless and underprivileged African-American teenager who finds refuge with a wealthy white family, the Tuohys. With their support and guidance, Michael discovers his talent for football and transforms his life from one of adversity to success both on and off the field.


Not that you wanted to know, but I honestly didn’t like the movie. It had a weird “savior” complex feel to it. Some rich family comes and opens their doors to a poor kid who just so happens to be an elite level athlete. It reeked of inspiration porn and was pretty suspicious even when it came out.

WIth that said, let’s get to the news that broke today. According to sources, Michael Oher filed a lengthy court document alleging that the Tuohy family never adopted him and coerced him into signing paperwork making them “conservators” over him. Oher also says that the Tuohys “tricked” him and he got none of the proceeds of the film.


I won’t bore you with all of the details I read through. Needless to say, it was a lot of legal speak that I won’t even pretend like I understood fully. The basic takeaway I got from it all was that Oher thinks he got screwed over by the film and the Tuohys.


Now, before we talk about the latest news, we have to talk about something that I thought was common knowledge. I specifically remember reading interviews with Oher saying that the film was not a good depiction of what happened. I even remember him saying that the movie made him look “dumb” (which it did) and that he hated it. Am I the only one who thought this was the case? Did I just hear that once and accept it as fact?


Anyway, moving on to the news of the day.


I wasn’t too shocked to hear this. As I said up top, the movie itself reeked of a money grab that pulled on people’s heartstrings. Nobody should be surprised that this rich family tried to capitalize on the situation. It just doesn’t seem right and something that doesn’t seem right usually isn’t. The story was too perfect and played right into the feel good spot we all have and like to indulge. So there should be no surprise that the family wasn’t quite on the level. The movie itself even describes how they basically committed fraud to get Oher into Ole Miss. If that’s what they were willing to show on film, what else is going on that they didn’t want everyone to see?


After my, “well duh” reaction to the possibility that the Tuohys are probably scammers, I did have another initial thought. Why now? Oher had a great career in the NFL that led to him winning a Super Bowl and quietly retired a few years back. The whole story also brought him into the limelight, which is not a place left tackles usually end up. Not to mention, the film was made almost 15 years ago and nobody, except whoever asked me about it a while back, was thinking about it.


I think I just answered my own question. I think I know why now.


I don’t know the whole situation, but this seems like Oher had this in his back pocket for a rainy day. Either that or he just made it up, which I doubt strongly. His playing money is probably drying up and if this is all true, he saw an opportunity to get some cash. More power to him. If he has a case, get after it. It does look a little money grubbing, but if he turns out to be right then that idea drifts away.


I don’t have the slightest clue where this one is going to end. If I were a betting man, I’d put my money down on some kind of out of court settlement worth some exuberant amount of money. That’s how these things seem to go. As far as the Tuohys are concerned, it’s probably cheaper to pay off Oher than to fight it in court.


Like always, people who had no involvement in the story at all reacting to it has become the more interesting part of the story. One reaction that caught my eye was that of Brandon Walker of Barstool Sports. The MIssissippi native and college football blowhard had this to say on Twitter, I mean X, “Sandra Bullock should give her Oscar back. She knows she didn’t deserve that shit.” Of course Walker is referring to Sandra Bullock who portrayed Leigh Ann Tuohy in The Blind Side.


Well, that may be the stupidest thing I’ve ever read. Let’s say all of the allegations are 100% true. Why does he think Bullock should return her Oscar? Did she not play the character that was written? It’s not like she did any of it. She just did her job. I’m sure there have been plenty of people that won acting awards for playing real characters that didn’t turn out to be the best people. Does anyone think Sandra Bullock really dug into this story before acting in it? No disrespect to her, but I don’t think she’s that kind of actress, but I don’t know. Walker is just mad that his hometown team’s best “feel good” story is now in shambles.


Now Bullock shouldn’t return her Oscar, but what she should do is host a documentary or series that exposes the Tuohys for the scumbags they seem to be. It would be great seeing the actress that portrayed Leigh Ann Tuohy confronting the real Leigh Ann Tuohy about taking advantage of Michael Oher. That’s compelling TV, but it will never happen.

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