'The Blind Sides' Story Not That Unique

'The Blind Sides' Story Not That Unique

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 grandmother's place and moved into the 7,000-square-foot home of one of his white football coaches. The plan worked—Brown is now an offensive lineman at the University of Southern Mississippi, and he's the subject of an upcoming documentary.

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