Antonio Turner and Michael Oher in The Blind Side

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Who is Antonio Turner? What happened between Michael Oher and Antonio Turner in The Blind Side?

In The Blind Side, Michael Oher gets into a physical altercation with a teammate named Antonio Turner. The incident resulted in Michael running away and getting into legal trouble.

Read more about Antonio Turner, The Blind Side, and what happened with Michael Oher.

Antonio Turner: Trouble Comes Knocking

Late into Michael’s second semester freshman year, he was accosted by one of his teammates, Antonio Turner. Antonio Turner was like Michael, black with a troubled background. He’d visited the Tuohy Memphis home once and thought the whole situation was off. On this day, he caught Michael hanging with some other players on the steps of a campus building and started insulting him. He called the Tuohys derogatory names and extended those to Michael, as well, suggesting that Michael was a sellout for moving in with rich white people. 

In response, Michael shoved Antonio Turner and received a punch in the face. They chased each other around campus for a while, but then Antonio said something that unhinged Michael. He made some sexually explicit statements about Michael’s white mom and sister, and Michael saw red. Antonio ran to the tutoring center to hide, but Michael found him and charged him with all his strength. Michael had been training for months by now and was stronger and faster. He picked up 230-pound Antonio by the throat like a sack of rice and threw him across the room. 

The tutors and athletes in the room hid under desks and screamed. When Michael calmed down, he saw a three-year-old white boy on the ground bleeding from the head. The boy was so small, he hadn’t seen him before. He was the son of one of the tutors and had been playing on the ground. The boy had been in the line of fire of Michael’s tirade and been badly injured. Michael stared at the boy for a few seconds in shock. Then, he turned and ran. 

Hugh Freeze called Leigh Anne and asked her to help. She and Sean knew they were unlikely to find Michael. By now, they knew that Michael was a runner. Whenever there was trouble, his first instinct was to run. They’d learned this after Michael disappeared for two days after an argument with Sue.

A few weeks before the Sue incident, Sean had finally heard back from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, which he’d been calling unsuccessfully for months to find out more about Michael’s past. The woman on the other line said she remembered Michael and told Sean that Michael had been taken from his mother at the age of 7. 

Michael spent time in foster homes, but he always ran away. The social services workers would hunt him down and take him back, and the same thing would happen. After three years, they finally stopped searching for Michael and lost track of him when he was 10. The woman had always wondered what had become of him. And now, Leigh Anne and Sean wondered the same thing. 

Antonio Turner and Michael Oher in The Blind Side

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Michael Lewis's "The Blind Side" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full The Blind Side summary:

  • How Michael Oher went from the projects in Memphis to the NFL
  • Why the combination of size and speed became essential for football stars
  • How Oher was taken in by the wealthy Tuohy family

Carrie Cabral

Carrie has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember, and has always been open to reading anything put in front of her. She wrote her first short story at the age of six, about a lost dog who meets animal friends on his journey home. Surprisingly, it was never picked up by any major publishers, but did spark her passion for books. Carrie worked in book publishing for several years before getting an MFA in Creative Writing. She especially loves literary fiction, historical fiction, and social, cultural, and historical nonfiction that gets into the weeds of daily life.

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