In the movie Blindside, Leigh Anne Tuohy (played by Sandra Bullock) compares a young Michael Oher to Ferdinand the Bull: big and strong yet sweet and gentle. But Oher allegedly was not smelling the flowers of the field on the night of April 14th, when an altercation between he and an Uber driver turned physical.
Oher is reportedly set to appear in a Nashville court on June 6th over a disagreement that resulted with Oher shoving the individual down and kicking him. Big Mike’s friends intervened, wrestling him away from the prone man. This, on the surface, doesn’t seem to bode well for Michael Oher’s reputation for being a gentle giant. Yet, there is more to this story.
The dispute allegedly began over fares owed to the driver, which Oher contested. The Uber driver was asked to follow another vehicle and refused to do so after the trip had commenced, with the Uber employee claiming the driver of the other car didn’t seem to know where they were going. After Oher convinced the man to pull over, the situation seemed to get heated from there.
— WIS News 10 (@wis10) May 10, 2017
At some point during the exchange of words, the driver put his hands in the face of the Carolina Panthers tackle,and presumably that’s when Oher seemed to lose his composure.
Here’s my problem with this story. Michael Oher is a pretty easy-going guy. Yes, there was a Twitter rant aimed at Todd McShay back in 2011 over McShay questioning Oher’s character. If you question a man’s character and integrity, though, and all you get are harsh words, you got off pretty easy.
Assassination of character is the worst form of disrespect!
— Michael Oher (@MichaelOher) March 31, 2017
Then there was the time Oher exchanged punches with Olivier Vernon during a joint Panthers-Dolphins practice during the 2015 preseason. So he got bent out of shape in the throes of battle. Not a big deal. As physical as the game of football is, and considering what’s at stake for these guys, I’m baffled that this doesn’t happen more often than it does.
Should Michael Oher have thrown the guy to the ground and booted him in the leg? No. I would never condone such actions. But you can’t honestly say that the Uber driver, whose only job is customer service, didn’t make some terrible decisions up to the point that the night turned violent.
The customer is always right. Even when they’re absolutely wrong. The only difference is instead of being some poor little doctor getting drug down the aisle of a plane, it’s a 6’4”, 315 pound offensive tackle, and he wasn’t having any of it. And who in their right mind is putting their hands up in the face of someone of Oher’s stature? How was that not intended to escalate the situation? This stands to be a prime example of how customer service hasn’t been hitting on much as of late.
This Uber driver simply had the misfortune of proving true an age-old proverb: mess with the bull, and you get the horns.