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Michael Oher greets fans at a Baltimore book signing amid lawsuit to end his conservatorship

Michael Oher greets fans at a Baltimore book signing amid lawsuit to end his conservatorship
Michael Oher greets fans at a Baltimore book signing amid lawsuit to end his conservatorship 02:54

BALTIMORE - Former Ravens' first-round draft pick Michael Oher was in Baltimore Monday for a signing event for his new book – "When Your Back's Against the Wall: Fame, Football and Lessons Learned through a Lifetime of Adversity." 

"This book, it means a lot to me," Oher said during brief remarks at the start of the event at The Ivy Bookshop in Hampden. "Basically, it's a playbook on life and how I continue to fight back and when your back's against the wall. That's how I've felt all my life."

His appearance comes amid the public legal battle going on between him and the couple who took him in when he was a teenager in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Oher filed a petition Aug. 14 in a Tennessee probate court accusing Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy of lying to him by having him sign papers making them his conservators rather than his adoptive parents nearly two decades ago. 

Oher is asking for the conservatorship to be terminated, a full accounting of the money earned off his name and story to be done and to be paid what he is due, with interest.

He accused the Tuohys of falsely representing themselves as his adoptive parents, saying he discovered in February the conservatorship agreed to in 2008 was not the arrangement he thought it was — and that it provided him no familial relationship to them.

Oher played offensive tackle for the Ravens from 2009-2013, and his childhood was chronicled in the movie "The Blind Side."

But on Monday, dozens of people showed up for this book signing.

"Michael Oher's story is very inspiring so we thought it would be cool to come and see him," said Isa O'Donnell.

He declined to speak to reporters at a book signing for his recently released memoir, only addressing the assembled crowd in line at 6 p.m. A bookstore employee advised reporters in attendance of that before Oher emerged from inside for the patio.

Oher, who played his first five pro seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, spoke carefully to fans, telling some he couldn't say much given the lawsuit and with reporters present.

Those attending the book signing told WJZ the situation is a matter for the courts and they just want to meet Oher.

"Honestly, it doesn't really matter what I think," said Todd Allen, from Dover, Pennsylvania. "Again, I think the world of Michael as a human being. I haven't had a chance to read this book yet but I've read his others and I'm just looking forward to getting into his story."

"I thought it would be interesting to come out. See what the book was about but also if he had to say anything," added Sam Noel.

Oher's life has been an inspiration for people all over the country since it was highlighted in the movie, "The Blind Side" in 2009. 

That's why the news that he was suing his guardians, Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, caught so many people by surprise.

Oher, who has never been a fan of the movie about his life, asked in the petition that the Tuohys be sanctioned and required to pay both compensatory and punitive damages determined by the court.

The Tuohys last week called the claims they enriched themselves at his expense outlandish, hurtful and absurd and part of a "shakedown" by Oher. Lawyers representing the couple also said the Tuohys would enter into a consent order to end the conservatorship they say Oher was aware of long before this year.

Oher played eight NFL seasons after being the 23rd pick in the 2009 draft out of Mississippi. The offensive lineman started 110 games and won the Super Bowl with the Ravens, also playing for Tennessee and Carolina. He last played in 2016 and was released by the Panthers in 2017.


The Associated Press contributed to this story

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