Although they might not be on each other’s Christmas card list just yet, according to John Rocker, he and Natalie Anderson have buried the hatchet.
“I would rather look like an ass than a wimp.”
Fans may find this news surprising after last week’s nasty altercation between the two castaways in which Natalie accused the former major league baseball player of being a racist and a homophobe based on his much publicized comments in a 1999 issue of ‘Sports Illustrated’.
“At that point you only have two choices when you are the person being personally verbally attacked,” Rocker told GlobalTV.com “You can look like a wimp and just take it or you can look like an ass and fire back. In my justification of things, I would rather look like an ass than a wimp.”
Mocking her “manly looks”, Rocker told Natalie on the episode if she were a man, he would’ve knocked her teeth out.
“I rarely go for the jugular and really try to hit home and cut someone down. I just wasn’t going to sit there and allow myself to be verbally attacked without defending myself in some way,” he said of the incident.
As Rocker tells it, he, Val and Nadiya became good friends during their time at the Ponderosa, the place where booted players live after being eliminated from the game. Since the series wrapped back in July, Rocker has been in contact and visited the Twinnies, Val and Jeremy in New York. They all went out to dinner together and plan on meeting in L.A. before the finale to spend more time together. During the airing of last week’s episode, Rocker says he Skyped with the Twinnies and they all joked back and forth. During their conversation, Rocker needled Natalie about her rant and she apologized. Today, Rocker doesn’t hold a grudge against anyone who thought badly of him on the island.
“You cannot blame them. It is what it is,” he said. “It is the assumptions people make about me. What is funny is for the last decade and a half, you will not find one person who actually knows me support any of those claims in the article.”
Despite the dark cloud it put over his Survivor experience, Rocker says his past is not the reason why he was voted out by his tribe. He admits that his clandestine pact with Jeremy to protect Val is what destroyed the trust his fellow tribe mates had in him. Why did he publicly confess to the deal in the first place?
“I just put my cards on the table so they didn’t think I was that shady character who would stab them in the back down the road,” Rocker explained.
Not only did the deal blew up Rocker’s game but there was no chance he could ever have saved Val in the first place. As Rocker learned, Val’s fate was sealed when nobody fell for her lie about being in possession of the Hidden Immunity Idols.
“The thinking was if she was going to lie this big, this early, we would have to keep a hard, strong eye on her this entire game so we might as well get rid of her now,” he said.
“I was sitting at Tribal Council with the Hidden Immunity Idol thinking as long as Dale is sitting here, I should be safe.”
Not that the Hidden Immunity Idol did Rocker any good either. He was voted out with it in his pocket. Why did he feel so comfortable and safe at that particular Tribal Council? Rocker was absolutely sure it would be Dale not him taking the Walk of Shame.
“When you look at other Survivor episodes, generally the person who tries to make the game all about themselves, they try to be the bossy figure, the father figure, they try to run the show, those are the people who rub folks the wrong way,” Rocker said of Dale who he claims always thought his way of doing things was better and tried to one up everyone, to their frustration.
“I was sitting at Tribal Council with the Hidden Immunity Idol thinking as long as Dale is sitting here, I should be safe. That may not be a smart move at the Merge but for right now, that is the only move I can see being made,” he continued.
Not interested in playing again, Rocker had this to say about whether his appearance on Survivor hurt or helped his reputation.
“I just don’t really care. I don’t care,” he chuckled.