Say it ain’t so, Jeff Probst.
You’re not really putting mean ole John Rocker on “Survivor,” are you? Not on one of my favorite shows for so many years now – shoot, almost as far back as Rocker’s flash-in-the-spotlight 15 minutes of fame.
I worked at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution then. All of us in Atlanta remember the big lunk for being a big jerk while a closer for the Braves, particularly in that infamous Sports Illustrated article, where he said nasty things about gays, immigrants, minorities, New Yorkers and, gosh, just about everybody.
And after that, I wrote about him a time or two when, even outside of the limelight, he found a way to be obnoxious, particularly to gays.
When I was in the media, I never got to meet him, although I have seen him in person. He is, without a doubt, one of the most physically beautiful men I’ve ever seen. And talk about a powerful masculine presence… He’s huge, built, aggressive, obnoxious and used to commanding attention. You know the type – loves how attractive and intimidating he usually is, probably asserts himself when he doesn’t get the attention he’s used to.
There’s often some guy like that on “Survivor,” which pits castaways in a competition that is part physical, part survival and part social. “Outlast, Outplay, Outwit.”
The Rocker types never last long. Too physically threatening, too socially divisive and tone deaf… and, well, usually not the smartest in the bunch.
“Survivor” has had pro athletes on previous seasons, most of them way more famous and accomplished than Rocker, who had a few years of notoriety before his obnoxiousness eclipsed his gifts as a closer. Future Hall of Famer Jeff Kent was on a few seasons ago and most of the other contestants had no idea of his wealth and stature. So maybe Rocker can coast under the radar.
Given his long track record, though, I’m guessing we’re in for a whole new round of reasons to hate him or laugh at him when the season starts Sept. 24.
He probably won’t last three episodes. But I’ll be watching every minute.
Got me, Probst.
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