While Michael Lewis is currently promoting his latest book, Going Infinite about Sam Bankman-Fried, it’s one of the author’s older works that finds itself in the public spotlight.
In August, former NFL offensive tackle Michael Oher sued Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, alleging that the couple had misled him into believing they were adopting him as their legal son for their financial game. The Tuohy family’s relationship with Oher was famously the subject of Lewis’ 2006 book, The Blind Side, which was later adapted into a 2009 film for which Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne.
Lewis has already weighed in on the lawsuit, stating in August that the Hollywood system — and not the Tuohy family — was the real culprit. But in a wide-ranging interview with The Guardian‘s Samanth Subramanian, Lewis seemed to shift blame to Oher, even suggesting that head injuries from football might be the root cause of his lawsuit.
“What we’re watching is a change of behaviour,” Lewis told Subramanian. “This is what happens to football players who get hit in the head: they run into problems with violence and aggression.”
Per Subramanian, Lewis also speculated that perhaps one of Oher’s lawyers thought it was a good time to sue the Tuohys or that Oher figured the public would “get behind him if he makes these accusations.”
It’s of course worth noting that Tuohys are longtime friends of Lewis’ and that his portrayal of Oher and the family’s relationship had already been the subject of scrutiny prior to the lawsuit. Lewis, however, has doubled down on his depiction of the family taking Oher into its home while he was in high school, despite claims that it paints a convenient “white savior” narrative.
“It’s this cancel culture thing,” Lewis told Subramanian, noting former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze’s support for the Tuohys. “It takes an act of courage to stand up to the mob.”
Thus far, however, the courts don’t appear to agree with Lewis’ assessment of the situation. Last week, a Tennessee judge ruled to end the Tuohys’ conservatorship over the 37-year-old Oher, which gave the couple the legal authority to make business deals in his name.
In announcing the termination of the agreement that was signed when Oher was 18-years-old in 2004, Judge Kathleen Gomes expressed surprise that the conservatorship — which is typically reserved for cases involving medical conditions or disabilities — was approved.
“I cannot believe it got done,” she said, according to The Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the Tuohy family has denied any wrongdoing, alleging that Oher’s claims against them are “a shakedown.”