“The Blind Side” may have impressed critics, but the 2009 Oscar-winning film is not a favorite of its subject, Carolina Panthers left tackle Michael Oher. On Wednesday, Oher said the movie has been a detriment to his football career.
“This stuff, calling me a bust, people saying if I can play or not,” he continued, “that has nothing to do with football. It’s something else off the field. That’s why I don’t like that movie.”
Oher has long said his character in the 2009 Sandra Bullock movie was inaccurate and not just because his character in the movie is portrayed as a rather simple-minded kid. Oher takes particular issue with the film’s depiction of him as a football novice until he was taken in by the Tuohy family, who is credited in the film as shaping Oher into the Ole Miss player who became a first-round draft pick in 2009.
“I always knew how to play football growing up,” Oher said (via Yahoo Sports) ahead of his 2013 Super Bowl with the Ravens. “Playing football is what got me to this point.”
Oher’s ex-teammates on the Ravens have also stood up for him, including Kelechi Osemele who attested Oher, the actual person, is not the same man Hollywood imagined.
“He’s nothing like that,” Osemele said in a 2013 article posted to the team’s Web site called “The Real Michael Oher.”
“I can’t even imagine Mike being like the guy that they portrayed on the movie,” Osemele continued.
Former teammate Matt Birk agreed.
“This may come as a shock, but they tend to embellish things in Hollywood,” he said. “Real life Mike Oher is better.”
That said, Oher’s past two seasons in the NFL have been tough. After spending five seasons with the Ravens, the team chose not to re-sign him, and in 2014, he ended up on a five-year, $20 million contract with the Tennessee Titans. Injuries, however, plagued his season and his time with the Titans was cut short.
In 2015, the Panthers picked up Oher who is now hoping to let his skills do the talking.
“I know what type of player I am,” he said (via ESPN), adding, “Everybody else that I know knows what type of player I am.”
To those who don’t know him, there’s this: Oher isn’t looking for a Hollywood ending; he’s looking for a fresh start.