Former NFL Player Claims Major Theme of Movie 'The Blindside' Was a Lie

Former NFL player Michael Oher, who inspired the 2009 Academy Award-winning film "The Blind Side," recently filed a petition in a Tennessee court alleging that he was never legally adopted by the Tuohy family, but rather tricked into a conservatorship that solely benefited them. According to the petition, Oher discovered the truth in February 2023 and claims that he was tricked into entering a conservatorship after his 18th birthday.

The filing alleges that the Tuohy family enriched themselves at Oher's expense and that they negotiated a deal that paid them a significant amount plus a percentage in royalties for the film, which grossed $330 million. The petition seeks to end the conservatorship and bar the Tuohy family from using Oher's name and likeness. It also seeks that Oher receives a share of profits based on the earnings the family purportedly made off his name.

The petition reveals that the Tennessee Department of Human Services took custody of Oher in 1996, and his attorneys claim that he was left to "live on the streets" because of a "broken social system." Oher attended 11 schools and repeated two grades before he was introduced to Briarcrest Christian School, where he "excelled" from the beginning. Oher stayed with classmates and at the home of family friends, and "occasionally" with the Tuohy family, the document alleged. In 2004, the family invited him to live with them.

The filing alleges that the Tuohy family presented Oher with the conservatorship soon after he moved in, which he understood as a form of legal adoption. However, at no point did the Tuohys inform Oher that they would have ultimate control of all his contracts, and as a result, Oher did not understand that if the conservatorship was granted, he was signing away his right to contract for himself. The filing alleges that the Tuohy family falsely advised Oher that because he was over the age of eighteen, the legal action to adopt him would have to be called a conservatorship, but it was, for all intents and purposes, an adoption.

The petition alleges that the Tuohy family benefited significantly from the movie, but Oher did not. The family allegedly negotiated a deal that paid them each, including the Tuohys' two birth children, a significant amount plus a percentage in royalties for the film. The filing also alleges that another contract purportedly signed by Oher in 2007 signed away his rights to his story "without any payment whatsoever."

Oher's attorney J. Gerard Stranch IV told ESPN that his client was "devastated" when he discovered the true nature of the conservatorship. "Mike didn't grow up with a stable family life," he said. "When the Tuohy family told Mike they loved him and wanted to adopt him, it filled a void that had been with him his entire life. Discovering that he wasn't actually adopted devastated Mike and wounded him deeply."

The petition seeks to end the conservatorship and bar the Tuohy family from using Oher's name and likeness. It also seeks that Oher receives a share of profits based on the earnings the family purportedly made off his name.

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