Professional angry man, homophobe and former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker will soon be back on TV, shirtless and hanging out with an equally muscled gay couple. This will so turn out well.
Rocker, his new-found abs and longtime girlfriend Julie McGee, are among the cast for the new season of “Survivor: San Juan del Sur – Blood vs. Water” that premieres on Sept. 24. They will compete against Broadway boyfriends Reed Kelly and Josh Canfield. Entertainment Weekly provided a first look at six of the 18 contestants early Wednesday.
The irony of Rocker (top photo) competing alongside a gay couple is noted. As is a buffed up Rocker sitting shirtless on the beach with a muscled up gay guy. No homo. (Bottom photo with Rocker and Canfield.)
That Rocker landed a spot on the show is reviving recollections of his infamous tirade in 1999 against people with AIDS and “fucking faggots” who work at Disney. The rant crashed his baseball career, though he's revived his public persona in recent years as an author and columnist on right-wing site World Net Daily.
Rocker has tried over the years to dismiss the infamous Sports Illustrated interview as a hit piece that (correctly) portrayed him as a raving lunatic. Earlier this year, he responded to a detailed rehashing of the interview with a new, even crazier spin: Why I'm thankful for Sports Illustrated hit piece.
You see, it all turned out OK for John Rocker:
As I pondered the question during the weekend, I’ve come to one congruent conclusion: The benefits I’ve gained far outweigh the detriments. There truly is no such thing as bad publicity. The things I’ve been able to do; the doors that have opened; the places I’ve been able to go and the famous/influential people I now consider friends in large part stem from the notoriety created by that SI piece. I know that was not Pearlman’s intent, but that’s how it’s turned out as I look back over the last 14 years from a bird’s eye view.
Of course, his latest effort to explain away his bad behavior doesn't mention his homophobic and racist rant and his later blaming the incident on his roid rage. He definitely does not mention more recent rants, like that time he called a radio jock a “Jew faggot” at an Atlanta hotel, his fascination with man-boy love, his defense of Dan Cathy's bigoted marriage comments, his support of gay marriage bans and his attempt to convince gay CNN host Don Lemon that he's not an anti-gay dick anymore.
Rocker also isn't concerned that competitors on “Survivor” might take issue with his well-documented ignorant rants, which he adds to nearly daily on Twitter.
Does Rocker worry that other contestants will hold that article against him if they recognize him out on the island? “Not really,” he told Entertainment Weekly on location in Nicaragua the day before filming began. “I see these folks that I’m getting ready to play this game with as very similar to the 13 years of professional baseball that I played, and the teammates that I played with. Some of my biggest supporters after that SI debacle were my current and past teammates.”
Kelly and Canfield may disagree.