Baltimore Sun: Michael Oher expands on his reaction to 'The Blind Side'

February 1st, 2011

Baltimore Sun
Posted by Michael Sragow at 8:05 AM
February 1, 2011

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Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Michael Oher has rendered his complete response to the blockbuster “The Blind Side” in his new book, “I Beat the Odds,” written with Don Yeager. (I interviewed Oher and Yaeger for a piece on the book running Sunday.)

He didn’t see the movie about his transformation from a homeless child in inner-city Memphis to a football star with a supportive adoptive family until his first season as a Raven was over. Then he and two teammates went as regular paying customers.

“My feelings afterward were mixed,” he writes. “First of all, I couldn’t understand why so many people around me were sniffing and blowing their noses at the end. I wanted to stand up and say, ‘You realize that was a happy ending, right? I mean, I have a great life, a great family, and I am really thankful for all the blessings I’ve been given. Things turned out really good for me — please don’t cry.'”

Oher also felt “wounded pride.”

He “liked the movie as a movie” but “had a hard time loving it” because he felt “it portrayed me as dumb instead of as a kid who never had consistent academic instruction and ended up thriving once he got it.”

What he really found annoying were the scenes of his new family, the Tuohys, teaching him football — the son, Sean Jr., acting out plays with ketchup bottles, or the mother, Leigh Anne, instructing him in the art of blocking. He “didn’t want [people] to think I was someone so clueless about something I had always taken pride in being pretty smart about.” (In print he suggests that he likes Michael Lewis’ original book “The Blind Side” a little better. In our conversation he said he had the same basic problem with the book and the film.)

On the plus side, the most frequent taunt he got from his opponents on the line was a friendly, “Hey, Hollywood!” And he was glad the film “could reach some kids who are in the same position I used to be in when I was in foster care.” The letters he got from moviegoers in part inspired him to tell his own story in “I Beat the Odds.”