Michael Oher became the inspiration to a generation as his journey from homelessness to the NFL was portrayed in “The Blind Side.”
But during a recent interview, Oher said the movie, of which he’s grateful for its impact around the world, didn’t tell the whole truth when it came to his eventual success of making it to the league and becoming a Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens.
“At the end of the day, I had drive, ability. The want to succeed and be something, and it didn’t show the work ethic I put in to get to that point,” Oher told Salon Talks while promoting his new memoir, “When Your Back’s Against the Wall: Fame, Football, and Lessons Learned Through a Lifetime of Adversity.”
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“You have to understand that came out in 2009. When I moved in with the family, I was an All-American football player already.”
The movie doesn’t show that Oher was already a standout football player, he said. Rather, the film makes it seem that joining the Tuohy family, from which Oher is now trying to end his conservatorship, led to him becoming a stud on the gridiron.
Oher’s talents in the film are non-existent before it’s suggested by the family that he join the football team at a private school.
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“I was 18, and I moved in a couple of weeks before senior year of high school,” Oher said. “I had been through the journey I’d already traveled, which was a success in its own, coming from where I came from. So, you have to give some credit right there.”
“That’s what I want young people to understand and not look at something and say, ‘I’m waiting on my savior. I’m waiting on this quick fix. I’m waiting on someone to come and give me this handout.’ That was never my mentality,” he continued.
“I was putting it in my mind that I was going to be something from 11 years old when I started this journey. I wanted to be successful. It didn’t have to be football. It didn’t have to be sports. I was going to be a positive influence on society. If I had to have three, four jobs, I was going to be working. I was going to be something that could give me longevity, a peace of mind and comfort. I think it missed in those aspects, but I wouldn’t be who I was [without that] small part of my story.”
Oher added that he was sleeping on “floors of other people’s houses” while still going to school and fighting to be successful.
“You still have to put the work in,” he said, “doesn’t matter where you are, what you’re going through or what situation you’re in.”
“I had ambition. Very grateful for the platform and still inspiring and motivating people across this world, grateful for that.”
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Oher filed a petition last week in Tennessee probate court, accusing Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy of lying to him to sign papers that would make them his conservators rather than his adoptive parents. He said he discovered this in February, saying the conservatorship he agreed to in 2008 wasn’t the arrangement he believed it to be.
Oher is seeking to have the conservatorship terminated while a full accounting of the money earned off his name and story be paid back to him with interest.
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The Tuohy family has called the claims outlandish and hurtful, believing that Oher is trying to shake them down. Lawyers for the family noted that the Tuohys would enter into a consent order to end the conservatorship, saying Oher was well aware of that prior to his alleged discovery in February.