Michael Oher with the Tuohy family on the day he joined the NFL. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Former soccer player Michael Oher is suing his adoptive family, claiming he was cheated.
Michael Oher is a former American football player: he played in the US professional league, NFL, between 2009 and 2016, but he is especially famous because his story inspired the 2009 movie. Blind areafor which actress Sandra Bullock won an Oscar. The film tells the story of his adoption by an evangelical Tuohy family, and how the event led young Oher, who endured a difficult childhood between abandonment, orphanages and life on the street, to find serenity, self-confidence and success. In sports.
The film is based on a book TThe Blind Side: Game Evolution well-known journalist and essayist Michael Lewis, also the author of books on which films were made Money AND Big bet, and was advertised as being “based on true events”. It was a great success: the film was nominated for an Oscar and grossed over 300 million euros in the US alone. But on Tuesday, Oher sued the Tuohy family, saying the whole story was actually based on a “big lie.”
In recent months, he would have learned that he was never adopted, but only signed a document granting legal protection to Sean and Leigh Ann Tuohy. Oher accuses Tuohy’s family (including the couple’s two illegitimate children) of getting rich behind his back, getting large sums from the book and film, and later using his name and the movie version of his story to build Leigh Ann Tuohy’s career as a motivational author.
Oher was one of twelve children of a single mother, addicted to alcohol and drugs, and was placed in social services from the age of eleven. For some time he lived in foster families, but nothing came of them: despite the fact that he was described as a bright student, he changed eleven schools and failed twice. Between social service receptions and foster families, he also slept on the street for some time, without a fixed place of residence. His situation changed dramatically when, on the advice of a friend’s father, he applied for admission to the religious private school Briarcrest Christian School near Memphis, Tennessee, where he was accepted mainly for athletic merit. Excellent physical data allowed him to excel in athletics, basketball and, above all, in American football.
His personal situation remained difficult, and Oher was often taken into the homes of some of his classmates, including Tuohy. According to the subpoena filed by the former player in the Tennessee court, it was only at this stage, when his athletic abilities were already evident, that Sean and Lee-Ann Tuohy began to invite him to their home more often and call them “mother and mother.” dad.””. Oher repeatedly recalled that he first heard that he had a family, and willingly signed the adoption papers. He was nearly 18 at the time (just a few months later) and, according to the lawsuit, the Tuohys granted him legal custody, “almost like an adoption, but more age-appropriate.” It was only recently that he discovered that this act in no way makes him “part of the family.”
The Hollywood movie tells a completely different story. Leigh Ann Tuohy, the main character played by Sandra Bullock, takes to heart the fate of homeless teenager Mike, physically huge and with huge problems at school, introduces him to his family, sends him to school and teaches him how to use his physique in sports. help make him great attack tackle: in American football it is the role of the one who defends defenders adversaries coming from directions he cannot see, i.e. blind sides (blind corners) of the header.
The film itself is an adaptation of the book by Michael Lewis: the writer was looking for a new story after Money when a San Francisco 49ers executive told him of the growing importance attack tackle in football for the ability to defend defenders in their blind spots. Lewis found that Oher, one of the best in the role and with an interesting story behind him, was about to become a member of the family of his old school friend Sean Tuohy. Thus, in telling the story, Lewis was fully cooperating with the family: in the book, he never talks about “legal protection” but about the “adoption process”, and there are some omissions in the story told.
Oher’s lawyers said that his relationship with his family began to suffer when the player was portrayed in the film as dull and lacking in personality, which they felt was detrimental to his athletic career. He then learned that he was the only member of the family who had not been paid for either the book or the film: with respect to the latter, the lawsuit alleges that each of the four members of the Tuohy family received $225,000 plus 2.5 percent of gross royalties for movie. (a figure that has become significant).
It was only in the last few months, while preparing this lawsuit, that he discovered that he had not actually been adopted. The adoption would have made him a legal member of the family and left him with the economic management of his affairs: instead, under “legal guardianship”, he would have completely handed them over to Tuohy, despite his age and lack of cognitive impairment. . His lawyers say no one has ever explained to him the true nature of the documents he signed: they are asking for compensation for lost income, compensation for damages and a ban on Tuohy using Oher’s name or history.
Tuohy’s family has denied receiving any money for the film in the past and claims they only received a flat fee for the book, which they allegedly “split into five parts”. Sean told a Memphis newspaper that family members were “surprised and saddened” by Oher’s lawsuit. Their lawyer later called the allegations “ludicrous”, stated that the player had repeatedly sought over ten million dollars in compensation from the family, denied that compensation like the one described had ever been received, and stated that legal guardianship had been established. . to make it easier for Oher to access health insurance, driver’s licenses, and college papers.
Oher retired in 2016 after winning the Super Bowl in 2012 with the Baltimore Ravens. He published an autobiography in 2011 and is the father of four children.
– Read also: The football team that doesn’t want to be filmed
Continue in post