In 2009, Sandra Bullock won her first Academy and Golden Globe Award by portraying the type of white woman Rachel Dolezal literally dreamed to be in the box-office smash, The Blind Side.
Bullock played Leigh Anne Tuohy, the oft-well-to-do restaurateur who became the legal guardian of Michael Oher, an inner-city kid of 12 from Memphis who had the odds stacked against him. Given his large nature in size, sports were a logical escape but he needed the proper surroundings to make the dream a reality, which the Tuohy’s gave them to him.
Or so it seemed. After being drafted in 2009 and winning a Super Bowl title in 2013 with the Baltimore Ravens, Oher cashed in big with a 4-year, $20 million contract with the Tennessee Titans, only to see himself being cut after a disappointing season plagued with injury.
Oher, now a Carolina Panther, spoke with ESPN about a fight in mini-camp he had with defensive end Kony Ealy and in turn, began to defend his self-worth.
“I’m not trying to prove anything,” Oher said. “People look at me, and they take things away from me because of a movie. They don’t really see the skills and the kind of player I am. That’s why I get downgraded so much, because of something off the field. “This stuff, calling me a bust, people saying if I can play or not … that has nothing to do with football. It’s something else off the field. That’s why I don’t like that movie.”
“That movie” grossed more than $300 million in theaters and broke an alarming streak of forgettable Bullock roles. Yet it failed to make Oher–who has never went to a Pro Bowl all the same–a household name amongst casual sports fans. The same can be said for Quinton Aaron, who portrayed Oher in the film.
“That’s taken away from my football,” Oher continued. “That’s why people criticize me. That’s why people look at me every single play.”
Now that he is back in the news, the upcoming NFL season will determine if Oher can step outside of the shadow and expectations The Blind Side created haunted him with.
Photo: Carolina Panthers (FAN Channel)