On Aug. 14, former NFL player Michael Oher sued the Tuohy family for never officially adopting him. Instead of adoption, Oher had been under a conservatorship, which allowed the Tuohys to have authority over Oher’s medical and financial situations. In this recent lawsuit, Oher requested that the Tuohys end his conservatorship and reimburse him for the money the Tuoys received from “The Blind Side.” The Tuohys claim that they thought Oher always knew about the conservatorship, and they always split the money from “The Blind Side ” into five ways among the family members.
Oher claimed that he first learned about the conservatorship in Feb. 2023. However, this is clearly untrue as he mentions the conservatorship in his 2011 book “I Beat the Odds”. “They explained to me that it means pretty much the exact same thing as ‘adoptive parents,’ but that the laws were just written in a way that took my age into account,”
“The Blind Side” is a 2009 film based on Oher’s life. The movie received an Oscar for Best Picture, and it has accrued over $300 million over its lifetime, with the Tuohys having claimed over $280 thousand from the movie. Oher claims that he never made anything from the movie.
This lawsuit is not Oher’s first complaint about the movie. “As the years would go on, my workhorse mentality would be downplayed and eventually overshadowed by something that became almost a dirty word to me: fame,” writes Oher in his Aug. 8, 2023 autobiography “When Your Back is Against the Wall.” “After the movie came out, the narrative downplayed some of the qualities that make me who I am. That I am self-taught. That I’m intuitive. That I work for things. The fictional story swept all of that away… For the sake of a better story, the movie suggested that some of the character traits that most define me are not true.” In one case, ESPN analyst Todd McShay commented negatively on Oher’s character in 2009. Oher was outraged as he had never personally met McShay.
In his most recent book, “When Your Back is Against the Wall,” Oher only mentions the Tuohys a single time, and they never appear in the dedications or the acknowledgments. In contrast, his 2011 book “I Beat the Odds” is dedicated to the Tuohys and thanks them throughout the book.
Oher also claims that the movie negatively affected how he was perceived in the NFL. The movie initially portrays Oher as illiterate and having little knowledge of football. One scene in the movie shows Oher being taught football plays by the Tuohy’s youngest child using spices and condiments on the kitchen table. Oher claims that many teams were skeptical of his knowledge and considered him a risky draft prospect because of this scene. “The biggest for me was being portrayed [in the film] as not being able to read or write,” Oher recently said. “When you go into a locker room and your teammates don’t think you can learn a playbook, that weighs heavy.”
In response to the lawsuit, the Tuohys claim that they never made any money from the lawsuit. “We’re devastated,” Sean Tuohy told ESPN. “It’s upsetting to think we would make money off any of our children. But we’re going to love Michael at 37 just like we loved him at 16.”