Blindsided by Hollywood

Sports writer, Gabriella Bermudez. Photo credit: George Johnston

Sports writer, Gabriella Bermudez. Photo credit: George Johnston

Ladies and gentlemen, Hollywood has lied to us.

Shocking, I know, but what’s even more shocking is the hidden malice residing in some of our favorite sports movies.

There is a certain patriotism we feel when we gather around to watch inspirational sports movies. We love the zero to hero complex as we watch the underdog fight to the top resulting in that beautifully captured final touchdown or home run set to the latest radio anthem.

As history will tell you however, Hollywood isn’t always so accurate, and in the end some of these movies can do a lot more harm than good to an athlete’s career.

The 2009 movie “The Blind Side” is an uplifting story of Michael Oher: a poor, quiet and under-educated teenager with an amazing talent for football. He is found on the streets by the Tuohy family and is welcomed with open arms until he is groomed into a star offensive tackle. He is eventually drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Oher would go on to win his first Superbowl ring with the Ravens in Superbowl XLVII against the San Francisco 49ers.

On March 6, 2015, Oher signed a two-year contract with the Carolina Panthers and found his team again headed to Superbowl 50. Despite all the extraordinary plays and his impressive statistics, Oher is still simply known as “The Blind Side” guy.

When the movie originally came out it was immediately met with positive reviews and was loved by most of America. Sandra Bullock, who played Oher’s mother, went on to win an Oscar, Golden Globe and SAG Award for her performance.

However, not everyone who watched the movie was a fan.

In truth, Oher actually hates the movie. In an interview with ESPN he 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.”

It’s not hard to see why Oher is so frustrated. As a writer I would hate it if the only reason I had gained respect in the writing community is because of my woeful childhood.

With a box office success movie about your life floating around, it also places the subject under a microscope for every other thing they do in the future. Perhaps the stress that Oher felt led to him eventually being let go by the Ravens after a struggling season in 2013 that left him with a -17.1 grade by Pro Football Focus.

Michael Oher is more than a character and I think it’s time we recognize him for the sensational player he is beyond the Blu-ray copy of a Sandra Bullock movie.

Gabriella Bermudez can be reached at [email protected] or @gabbybermudez2 on Twitter.