Sometimes in sports, we can predict our top story. Our A-block feature can usually be expected through schedules, rumored trades, or a must-see game we know is coming. Nobody saw this coming. One of the most heartfelt sports movies of a generation suddenly has a dark twist.
Blindsided: A Movie Makeover
Former NFL Player Michael Oher — Subject of 2009 Movie ‘The Blind Side’ — Claims Tuohy Family Made Millions From Lies
And just like that, one of the great American sports movies of the 21st century has come undone. Monday’s explosive story across the sports world and beyond centered around Michael Oher, the subject of the 2009 movie, ‘The Blind Side.’ In case you haven’t seen it in over a decade (or if you’ve never seen it), Oher, a homeless teenager shuffled through foster care, is adopted by a wealthy couple, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. On the path to security and stability, the Tuohy’s encourage the 6-foot-4, 300-pound athlete to finish high school and excel at football, eventually landing him a full-ride to Ole Miss and an eight-year career in the NFL. It was a heartwarming story about family, football and second chances. Until yesterday…
Oher Fights Back
On Monday, the former football star petitioned a Tennessee court with allegations that the family lied about his adoption to profit at his expense. The 14-page document states that the Tuohys housed him as a high schooler but never adopted him. Then, they tricked him into signing a document that made them his “conservators” shortly after he turned 18. That document gave them legal authority to conduct business in his name — producing a book that eventually became the 2009 Oscar-winning film and earned over $300 million. The Tuohys reportedly received 2.5 percent in royalties. Oher says he never saw a dime from the movie, but Leigh Anne, played by Sandra Bullock, is an author and motivational speaker largely due to the story depiction. She continues to address Oher as her “adopted” son.
The Destruction of a Classic
For any sports fans who have seen the movie, it’s undoubtedly one of the most heartfelt sports stories of a generation, even with stereotypical undertones of privilege vs. poverty. But yesterday’s 14-page petition also clarified key mistakes within the presentation of Oher’s character. Specifically, Oher was an athletic phenom on the football field long before the Tuohy’s built a relationship with him, and they were just one of many families with whom he stayed during his homeless teenage years. Oher also claims the movie portrayed him as “mentally slow,” which hurt his professional career and caused coaches and front offices to make assumptions.
Michael Oher is 37 years old and now retired from football, but his wounds from the film still cut deep. He released a new book just last week: “When Your Back’s Against the Wall.” And it appears he’s attempting to rewrite the narrative about his life.
Suddenly, a great sports story has been slashed by untruths. And a family that long epitomized southern hospitality and colorblind love has now been… well, blindsided.
AP Preseason Top-25
Georgia Begins 3-Peat Quest at Near-Unanimous Preseason No. 1 in AP Poll
It’s about that time! The 2023 college football season kicks off in just a few short weeks, and the preseason AP Top-25 is out. There’s no surprise at the top. The two-time defending champions received 60 out of 63 first-place votes, and the Bulldogs will open 2023 as the No. 1 team despite having 25 players drafted in the past two years, including QB Stetson Bennett. The CFB dynasty shifted in the SEC, and Alabama (No. 4) begins 2023 at their lowest preseason starting point in more than a decade. Two Big Ten powers — Michigan and Ohio State — come in at No. 2 and No. 3 before a list of the usual suspects round out the top-10. Zero Big 12 schools were present near the top. The SEC (3), Big Ten (3), ACC (2) and Pac-12 (2) make up the top-10. That would be five Big Ten programs following the Pac-12 shakeup with USC and Washington switching conferences next season.
Fun Fact: No team has won three consecutive national titles during the AP Poll era (1936-present). Georgia has a chance to do something extra special.
AP Top-25 (1st-Place Votes)
1. Georgia (60)
2. Michigan (2)
3. Ohio State (1)
7. Penn State
8. Florida State
Rest of Top-25: 11. Texas | 12. Tennessee | 13. Notre Dame | 14. Utah | 15. Oregon | 16. Kansas State | 17. TCU | 18. Oregon State | 19. Wisconsin | 20. Oklahoma | 21. North Carolina | 22. Ole Miss | 23. Texas A&M | 24. Tulane | 25. Iowa
The 2023 college football season kicks off in just 12 days (Saturday, Aug. 26).
Running Back Round-Up
Running Backs Dalvin Cook (Jets) & Ezekiel Elliot (Patriots) Find New Homes, But Sad News Hits NFL Family
The wait is over for two of the NFL’s marquee free-agent running backs, but a former NFL ballcarrier’s tragic death also rocked the league on a busy Monday. Former Vikings RB Dalvin Cook signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets while former Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliot inked a new deal with the New England Patriots. Both running backs have multiple pro bowls and they’re only 28 years old. Those signings came just hours apart Monday afternoon, but what followed was the news of Alex Collins’ death. Here’s the latest:
SIGNING: RB Dalvin Cook → Jets
Contract: 1 Year, $8.6 Million
Cook joins Aaron Rodgers in New York with a shot at a Super Bowl this season. The Jets also have Breece Hall and Michael Carter, so Cook won’t have to be the bellcow he was in Minnesota. In his first six seasons, all with the Vikings, Cook tallied nearly 6,000 yards rushing and 47 touchdowns, as well as another 1,800 yards and five TDs receiving.
SIGNING: RB Ezekiel Elliot → Patriots
Contract: 1 Year, $6 Million
Elliot also joined an AFC East squad in need of running-back help. He joins an RB room with Rhamondre Stevenson and Ty Montgomery. His seven seasons in Dallas produced more than 10,500 total yards (rushing and receiving) and 80 touchdowns.
Former Seahawks and Ravens RB Alex Collins passed away Monday morning as the result of a motorcycle crash at 28 years old. Collins wasn’t with a team this preseason, but the former fifth-round pick rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns in 50 career games with Seattle and Baltimore. He was a fun character on the football field and cherished by both organizations, teammates, and family.
The Royal Rush
Inside-the-Park Home Run & A Walk-Off Bunt? The Royals Are Still Having Fun…
The Kansas City Royals have had little to cheer for in 2023, but Monday night’s finishing touches to a wild contest delivered a bright spot. The Royals (39-81) have had a disastrous season, but they earned the spotlight in this one. In a back-and-forth game against the Mariners, Bobby Witt Jr. showed off the wheels for an inside-the-park home run in the fifth inning. That gave the Royals a 4-0 advantage, but Seattle came roaring back to tie the game at 5-5 on their final out in the top of the 9th. Tied up in the bottom of the 9th, Dairon Blanco punched a walk-off bunt down the first-base line to score Samad Taylor. What in the world is happening in Kansas City? They’re suddenly 10-6 in the last two weeks despite the second-worst record in baseball.
Royal Rush (By the Numbers)
Statistically speaking, the two Royals rarities on Monday were nothing short of miraculous. Advanced analytics says that inside-the-park home runs (IPH) account for just 0.63 percent of all HRs, and walk-off bunts are an even rarer event (roughly one occurrence per year). In the first four-and-a-half months of the 2023 season, Whit Jr. tallied just the third IPH of the year while Blanco’s walk-off bunt was only the second of the year. The first walk-off bunt of ’23? That also belonged to the Royals on May 11 (Freddie Fermin).
The first week of the NFL preseason is in the books as teams got their feet wet in live game situations, finally facing an opponent not wearing the same team colors. Many of the games weren’t great for viewing, yet plenty of questions arose around the league. (CBS Sports)
On Monday in Beijing, during what has been a popular promotional tour for Adidas, embattled star James Harden called Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey a “liar” — twice — and declared “I will never be a part of an organization that he’s a part of.” (ESPN+)
For someone, and their team, and their country, a now-and-forever-more moment is just a week away. It takes a whole team to win a title but someone from either Spain, England, Australia or Sweden is going to find a unique kind of fate smiling upon them. (FOX Sports)
The Must-Watch List
Women’s World Cup
Spain vs. Sweden (Tues. 4:00 am ET)
England vs. Australia (Wed. 6:00 am ET)
Astros at Marlins (6:40 pm ET)
Phillies at Blue Jays (7:07 pm ET)
Yankees at Braves (7:20 pm ET)
Angels at Rangers (8:05 pm ET)
White Sox at Cubs (8:05 pm ET)
Orioles at Padres (9:40 pm ET)
Rays at Giants (9:45 pm ET)
Brewers at Dodgers (10:10 pm ET)
Inter Miami CF vs. Philadelphia Union (7:00 pm ET)
Liberty at Aces (9:00 pm ET)