This story is wild.

You ever see the movie The Blindside? The one with Sandra Bullock that follows Michael Oher through his football career and adoption into a white family? He’s calling bullshit on the whole thing in a recent court filing. From Michael A. Fletcher at ESPN:

“Retired NFL star Michael Oher, whose supposed adoption out of grinding poverty by a wealthy, white family was immortalized in the 2009 movie “The Blind Side,” petitioned a Tennessee court Monday with allegations that a central element of the story was a lie concocted by the family to enrich itself at his expense.

The 14-page petition, filed in Shelby County, Tennessee, probate court, alleges that Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, who took Oher into their home as a high school student, never adopted him. Instead, less than three months after Oher turned 18 in 2004, the petition says, the couple tricked him into signing a document making them his conservators, which gave them legal authority to make business deals in his name.”

Immediately you wonder why it took so long for this to come out. The movie was released almost 15 years ago. The alleged “adoption” was almost two full decades ago. Surely he had to know something was up, right?

More from the ESPN story:

“Michael Oher discovered this lie to his chagrin and embarrassment in February of 2023, when he learned that the Conservatorship to which he consented on the basis that doing so would make him a member of the Tuohy family, in fact provided him no familial relationship with the Tuohys.”

“And since the film’s success coincided with the start of his lucrative NFL career in 2009, Oher did not take the time to fully investigate the deal until after he retired in 2016, Stranch said. Oher eventually hired a lawyer who helped him uncover the details surrounding the movie deal and his legal connection to the people he believed were his adoptive parents. His lawyer unearthed the conservatorship document in February, and Oher came to the painful realization that the Tuohys had not adopted him.”

The entire thing is crazy. Conservatorships are typically reserved for people who are incapable of making their own decisions. You might have a physical disability, or your parent or grandparent is dealing with Alzheimer’s, or something along those lines. In this case, it’s alleged that the family tricked Oher into signing this document even thought he was technically an adult with no impairments at the time.

Question is, wouldn’t an agent or financial advisor have uncovered something? The story mentions this:

“Oher’s agent, who would receive movie contract and payment notices, is listed as Debra Branan, a close family friend of the Tuohys and the same lawyer who filed the 2004 conservatorship petition, the petition alleges. Branan did not return a call to her law office on Monday.”

Allegedly, Oher signed another contract forfeiting profits from the 2009 movie, though it says in the story he does not recall doing that. For what it’s worth, his career NFL earnings amount to about $34 million.

Story is totally fascinating, all of it. Should alarm bells have gone off earlier? Did the Tuohys simply use the conservatorship to profit off the movie and leave everything else alone? Was this some deeper and more elaborate thing than anyone realized?