Michael Oher Nov 8, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers tackle Michael Oher (73) on the bench in the fourth quarter. The Panthers defeated the Packers 37-29 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Oher, the subject of the Oscar-winning movie The Blind Side, filed a petition in a Tennessee court in August alleging that his story of being adopted by a wealthy white family and overcoming poverty was a lie that the family told to enrich themselves at his expense.

Oher sued Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, accusing them of tricking him into thinking they were adopting him as their legal son so they could profit from his story. Oher, who went on to star at Ole Miss and was a former first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2009, claims that the couple tricked him into signing a document that made them his conservators, which gave them legal authority to make business deals in his name.

Tuohys’ relationship with Oher was the subject of Michael Lewis’ 2006 book The Blind Side, which was later adapted into a 2009 film starring Sandra Bullock, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne.

Lewis has fiercely defended the Tuohys, and already weighed in on the lawsuit on numerous occasions, 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 behavior,” Lewis told Subramanian. “This is what happens to football players who get hit in the head: they run into problems with violence and aggression.”

Lewis has since done another wide-ranging interview, this time with GQ’s Brett Martin who not as much asked, but told the best-selling author that he seemed to suggest that Oher’s current position might be the result of a football-related brain injury,

“I got pushed and I said something in anger that I probably shouldn’t have said,” he said in relation to his comments. “I don’t know what’s going on. I just don’t know. It breaks my heart though.”

You may be asking yourself, what is it about Oher’s assertions that made Lewis so angry? Well, let us remind you 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. So perhaps this was his idea of pushing back?

But what did he get pushed by? The Guardian didn’t exactly lead him to make these baseless claims, which quite frankly are pretty inflammatory, suggesting that there was a change in behavior with Oher, due to repeated blows to the heads. It’s a baseless claim and one that Lewis agrees he shouldn’t have said, presumably because of the backlash.

It’s also interesting to see that Lewis has gone from claiming that Oher has become aggressive and violent due to the possibility that he may have suffered CTE as a result of his NFL career, to saying he has no idea what’s going on. Taking a side here because of a preexisting relationship and lambasting the other side, because perhaps you didn’t see it yourself or have both frames of reference, doesn’t exactly look good on him.

The courts don’t appear to agree with Lewis’ assessment of the situation, even if he has since walked back his comments. Last month, 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.

Perhaps Lewis should think twice before he comments on the lawsuit again.


About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.