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'The Blind Sides' Story Not That Unique

Slate

A destitute black teenager moves in with a rich white family, takes up football, boosts his grades, and becomes a star NFL offensive lineman. There's a reason The Blind Side was a best-selling book and a monster box-office hit—the tale of Michael Oher and the Tuohy family sounds like it was drummed up in a Hollywood story meeting. The remarkable thing about The Blind Side, though, isn't that it's based on a true story. It's that the real Michael Oher is not unique.

In 2009, a few years after Oher left his adoptive home in Memphis, the local paper profiled another of the city's top football prospects. The 315-pound O.C. Brown, the story explained, had a chance to earn a college scholarship but was struggling in school. The solution: The African-American football star left his...

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