Carolina Panthers tackle Michael Oher has claimed that the box office smash hit "The Blind Side" has negatively affected his NFL career. He made the comments about the film's impact on his life on Wednesday.
According to David Newton of ESPN, Oher said that the 2009 movie about his life has detracted from his real-life performance on the football field. He brought up the subject after being asked whether or not he had to prove his worth to his team.
"I'm not trying to prove anything," Oher 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."
ESPN reported that Oher previously played for the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans.
"This stuff, calling me a bust, people saying if I can play or not ... that has nothing to do with football," Oher said. "It's something else off the field. That's why I don't like that movie."
According to ESPN, Oher was involved in a scuffle with defensive end Kony Ealy. Panthers coach Ron Rivera, along with tight end Greg Olsen, noticed that "there was a standoff" between Ealy and Oher as they trained in hot and humid weather.
"Kony is a young guy who is learning and trying to learn how to cope," Rivera said. "Michael is a veteran guy. It's kind of the young bear poking the older bear."
Rivera indicated disappointment in the fighting.
"The heat, the fatigue or what have you, there's no place for [fighting]," Rivera said. "I talked to both guys privately and just made sure they understood how I felt about it."
In his defense, Oher commented that "offensive linemen don't get looked at."
"Nobody is paying attention to the offensive line. But me? I'm getting watched for everything," Oher said. "I know what type of player I am. Everybody else that I know knows what type of player I am."
Oher added "that kind of stuff doesn't worry me."
According to ESPN, "The Blind Side" grossed more than $300 million; actress Sandra Bullock won an Oscar and a Golden Globe award for her performance as a white Christian mother in Tennessee who took in a homeless black teenager. The movie's storyline focused on Oher's life.
"That's taken away from my football," Oher said. "That's why people criticize me. That's why people look at me every single play."
ESPN reported that the Titans released Oher from his five-year, $20 million contract in 2014 during the offseason after he battled a toe injury. However, now that Oher had a chance to repair his toe via surgery, the Panthers signed him to a two-year, $7 million deal to protect the blind side of quarterback Cam Newton.