Oher Disliked His Character’s Representation
It’s not a shock some people don’t like how they were portrayed in a movie made about their lives, but Michael Oher really, really hated his representation. He stated during an interview with David Newton that people “don’t really see the skills and the kind of player” he is. Oher also claims that’s why he gets “downgraded” so much.
Oher also feels like the movie has caused people to “criticize” him unfairly and look at his plays under more scrutiny than another player might have to deal with. After hearing the complaints, the actor who played Oher in the movie (Quinten Aaron) stated, “Who gives a d*mn about what people say or think who want to criticize your game, bro. That shouldn't matter.”
Michael Oher’s Personality Was Much Different
Michael Oher’s personality certainly isn’t what it’s portrayed in the movie. In the movie, he’s sweet, shy, and gentle. Basically, the writers played him off as a gentle giant, but that’s just wrong. While Oher is certainly a kind person, he wasn’t really shy, and he wasn’t afraid to stand up for himself.
Oher is also not afraid to laugh things off and tries to not take things so seriously. Basically, he isn’t nearly as introverted as the film tried to make him seem. His teammates have regularly stated he’s fun-loving and has a passion for what he does. Timid? Nah, that’s not a word in Oher’s dictionary.
The Blind Side Oversimplified His Story
The story was just messed up in all sorts of ways. The Blind Side gives much of the credit for Oher’s rise to the Tuohys, which was just false. Oher himself has come out to say that it was more than the Tuohys. In “I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to the Blind Side and Beyond,” Oher goes into depth about his life.
Oher was the sixth of 12 children in his family, and he was protected by many of his siblings. The caseworker did their best to keep the group together and to prevent them from slipping through the cracks. Oher also stayed with an athletic coach before meeting the Tuohys.
Michael Oher Could Already Play Football
Thank goodness the Tuohys were there to teach Oher football – not! Michael Oher already knew how to play football before the famous family got involved. The movie portrayed him as an unintelligent kid with little to no skills. The crazy part is that the Tuohys met him at a sports game!
Oher doesn’t take what the family did for granted, however. While he was already well-versed in football, basketball, and other sports, he states that’s not where the Tuohys helped him. It was that they were able to take care of his most basic needs so he could focus on his future (rather than his present).
Oher Really Did Lift Up a Trash-Talking Opponent
Oher seriously did lift someone up by the shoulder pads! It happened during a scrimmage against a team from Munford. The defensive end who lined up against Oher gave him a ton of trash-talking and Michael wasn’t having it. He’s never been the type to take crap, after all.
Like in the movie, Michael took his chance to grab the player and lift him up by his pads. Then, he carried him off the field, through the Munford bench, and toward the bus. Yeah, he wasn’t playing around. Just as he tried to get him over the fence, a group of Munford players jumped on top of him.
Granger was Harsher than Joyce Thompson
One of the hardest scenes to watch was when Granger was interrogating Michael Oher. Granger’s character was so rough that (in the movie) Oher was sweating, nervous, and scared of what was going to happen. That’s just not correct. Nothing about the interview was true other than the fact that it happened.
Joyce Thompson was the person who actually conducted the interview. She stated that her goal wasn’t to grill Oher. She actually tried her best to make Oher comfortable, and intimidation was never the goal. In fact, Sean Tuohy was there, probably because the interview was conducted in their home rather than in a cold room.
Oher Didn’t Go to Wingate
Big Mike (from the movie) went to Wingate and played for the Crusaders. Turns out, Oher never really went to Wingate – he went to Briarcrest! Why bother changing the school up? Turns out Briarcrest president Mark Merrill thought that there would be some “concerns.” His words, not ours.
There were several school administrators who were concerned over the changes made to Oher’s story. They stated that the script took “artistic license,” and it didn’t necessarily line up with the school’s values and what they believed to be the truth. So, the school was changed to the Wingate Crusaders.
Briarcrest Didn’t Immediately Let Oher In
Getting into Briarcrest wasn’t easy. Oher just didn’t show the academic record the school wanted, and he actually didn’t show any records prior to 2002. The principal wasn’t entirely sure he should be accepted. Then, the coach, Hugh Freeze (aka Burt Cotton in the movie) lobbied to get Oher accepted.
Finally, the principal decided to allow Oher to participate in a home school program for the first few months. This would get his grades up and also catch him up with the rest of the class so he wouldn’t be as far behind when he did begin attending class on campus.
The Tuohys Really Did Adopt Michael
The Tuohys absolutely adopted Michael Oher to be their son! It took a while for Oher to trust the family. It definitely took more than a few nights for everyone to really settle in, but when they did, the Tuohys were happy to add Michael to their family, and he was happy to be a part of theirs.
The Tuohys and Michael still remain in contact, and why wouldn’t they? Michael is their son! They still cheer him on at their games, and he’s there to celebrate Mother’s Day with his adoptive mom and family. Michael Oher even attended Collins’s wedding in 2016!
Sean Tuohy Was the First to Help Oher
The movie made it seem that Leigh Anne Tuohy was the first to meet Oher, but that’s not true. The first person to meet this football legend was Sean. Sean noticed that Oher wasn’t able to afford lunch, so he set up a cafeteria account for him, so he’d be able to get a meal each and every day.
Then, the family crossed paths with Oher on Thanksgiving weekend when he was walking alone in nothing more than a pair of shorts. They took him in for the weekend. It was originally supposed to be temporary, but it soon turned permanent (as we all well know by now).
Michael Really Did Write "White Walls"
"White Walls" was a short essay, but it was one of the most impactful scenes of the entire movie. It talks about how Oher looked around him and saw nothing more than “white walls, white floors, and a lot of white people.” Turns out, Michael really did write that essay when he was in high school.
The profound essay describes how he doesn’t want to listen to the teachers, and how he feels out of place where he’s at. How he goes to the bathroom and looks in the mirror, only to not see himself looking back. It’s a deep look at Michael Oher we’re glad they included it in the film.
It’s True Oher Never Had His Own Bed
As sad as it is, Michael Oher truly never had a bed of his own. Oher was one of 12 children, and he came from a very poor family. Because of this, he never had a bed of his own. The Blind Side makes a point to show this in the movie when Leigh Anne gets him a bed of his own.
Even she’s a little shocked that he’d never had a bed before. It definitely put the moment in perspective. It wasn’t that great of a bed, but Oher was just happy to have one of his own. Most of us probably felt sad by this fact just like Leigh Anne did when she originally heard it.
Oher Was Never in a Gang
There was an intense moment in the film when Leigh Anne was dropping Michael off after taking him clothes shopping. Oher ends up getting in a fight with a gang member after they taunt Leigh Anne and the Tuohys. This whole scene was pretty much all bologna for added drama.
During interviews and in his book, Oher stated that he was never involved or spent time around gang members. That doesn’t mean Alton didn’t exist. His actual name was Delvin Lane, and he later began visiting schools to preach about hope and new beginnings. Lane went from selling drugs at 11 to having a master’s degree and three children.
The Accident Really Did Happen
No one saw this accident coming in the movie, and we’re sure Leigh Anne didn’t see it either in real life. The only difference is that it wasn’t out of negligence in real life but rather bad weather. Michael hit a patch of ice and skidded across a divide going 25 mph into a truck also going 25 mph.
Yes, S.J. was in the truck at the time of the accident. Apparently, S.J.’s injuries were much worse than they were in the movie. His face was badly swollen to the point where Leigh Anne could barely recognize him. Despite this, no bones were broken and both boys turned out okay.
Oher Retired from the NFL and Set Up Beat the Odds Inc
As a way to pay it forward from his hard work and good fortune, Michael Oher retired from the NFL and set up a charity called “Beat the Odds,” the same name as the title of his book. The goal of this foundation is to help “kids from hard places achieve their dreams.”
On top of that, Oher spends a lot of time volunteering at foster care organizations. Oher stated, “There are so many other people out there like me, so I have an obligation to continue to show them the way in.” In the meantime, he relaxes and spends time with his wife Tiffany Michelle Roy.