Did John Rocker escape the third episode of 'Survivor'?

"Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. "Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Caption
"Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. "Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

Caption
"Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker and Josh Canfield during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. "Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker and Josh Canfield during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Credit: Rodney Ho

"Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker and Josh Canfield during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. "Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker and Josh Canfield during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Caption
"Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker and Josh Canfield during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. "Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker and Josh Canfield during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

John Rocker's temper did him in.

What's worse, he had an immunity idol and chose not to use it. What was he thinking? How could he not suspect he was a target for a blindside? There were plenty of verbal clues from the two ladies during tribal council that would have alarmed a more astute listener. Rocker? Not astute enough.

So the saga of the former Braves pitcher on "Survivor" ended rather early in just the third week of the show.

I'm kind of sad. He was a pure entertainment package in and of himself.

The seeds of his demise began last week when John failed to save tribe mate Val Collins, Jeremy's wife after promising to do so on Exile Island.

John did make a good faith effort last week to her and at first voted for Baylor Wilson. But when Baylor and Val tied in votes, he clearly was displeased to discover Val had no immunity idol and turned against her. Then again, even if he hadn't turned on her, it didn't matter. Josh had switched votes, too.

He revealed before the reward challenge to everyone that he had tried to save Val for Jeremy's benefit. Josh was not pleased because he was not aware of John's behind-the-scenes unilateral maneuvering.

"I did everything I could, brother," John told Jeremy with some level of sincerity. "I'm sorry."

Jeremy still felt betrayed. Given what he knew about John, he did not give the former pitcher the benefit of the doubt.

Peeved after the reward challenge, Jeremy told the other members of his tribe about Rocker's Sports Illustrated story in broad strokes. (It has been 15 years.) The only other member of his tribe who knew Rocker's identity (Keith Nale) had lost the reward challenge and was on Exile Island.

Jeremy vowed to get rid of Rocker, even though he had no power to do so directly. He also claimed John had all the power in the other group. Julie McGee, John's girlfriend, felt understandably frustrated and alone. She knew she was a target.

During the immunity challenge, John's team Coyopa went ahead 2-1 thanks in part of John shooting a clean basket. John's teammate Baylor just missed her shot and Jeremy was able to tie the score 2-2. Jon, the dude who beat John in the second week challenge.

Three immunity losses in a row for John's team was not to his benefit - at all.

Natalie Anderson yelled at Rocker, calling him a "racist." She recommended the Coyopa team take John down.

"Right back at ya," John said.

Jeff Probst wondered, "Julie, why is there group hate against John now?

"Because everyone thinks he's the mastermind and playing tricks and lying," Julie explained.

Natalie, the former "Amazing Race" contestant who is still peeved his sister was ousted, was more explicit: John was "homophobic and racist like in your past," feeding off Jeremy's comments. .

"Do you know what they're talking about?" Jeff asked John's Coyopa tribemates.

"John's our tribe member regardless," Dale Wentworth, the elder Coyopa member, said. "We've got his back. You can run your mouth all you want."

"Vote him out!" Natalie yelped.  I can't imagine it was a coincidence the other minority in the tribe besides Jeremy was targeting him so vehemently but she sure is unpleasant.

Rocker's belligerent side finally came out: "If you were a man, I'd knock your teeth out."

"Knock me out!" Natalie countered. "I'm not scared of you bro!"

"John! John!" Julie said, knowing his chances of survival were shrinking rapidly. "Stop!"

"Let's put our stuff down and fight!" John said.

Josh, later, told the cameras: "John is playing haphazardly and he's doing things that are not going to be helpful to the tribe. That's a problem."

Caption
"Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. "Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Credit: Rodney Ho

"Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. "Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Caption
"Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. "Actions vs. Accusations" - John Rocker during the third episode of Survivor 29, Wednesday, Oct. 8 (8:00-9:30 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Credit: Rodney Ho

Credit: Rodney Ho

When Coyopa came back to camp, losers again, the two remaining women were clearly alienated by John's outburst - against a woman. Baylor and Jacelyn Schultz were certainly going to vote against him. Josh was clearly going to turn against him, too. John was aware that Natalie calling him a homophobe was not going to help his relationship with Josh, who happens to be gay.

He tried to get the ladies to take Dale out. They said yes but you know their hearts were not into it. John was tainted and he only wished that wasn't the case. In the interim, he agreed with the guys to take out Baylor.

John then told Josh he had the immunity idol. "John has shown some sketchiness as far as his mouth and getting on with Val," Josh said. "He's going to use that idol for himself."

Josh decided it was time for a blindside. He informed Baylor that Josh, Jacelyn Wes, she and Alec were to vote against John but ensure John that he's safe so he wouldn't use his idol. "Thank you," said Baylor, who has been a regular target.

Alec was skeptical of this play but ultimately, he went along with it. He was really insurance, though, not a crucial vote, since the other four were clearly going against John.

During tribal council, Jacelyn alarmed Josh by implying that the five-guy alliance might be in trouble. Of course, in John's mind, that could mean Dale is gone because that's what he told the ladies to do.

Josh rightly said: "Nobody has their story straight."

"Let the dark cloud off of whatever is covering us," Baylor said. That wasn't too smart because that clearly was a reference to John - not Dale. If John werer thinking properly, he would realize at this point maybe he should use his immunity idol.

Instead, he didn't. And he went home. Dumb.

John didn't seem all that upset in his exit interview.

"The best laid plans don't always work out. I made some good alliances. I thought they were pretty solid. I thought I had everything thought out playing both sides of the fence. Here I am, being the one guy I didn't want to be: the guy with the idol in his pocket... This will be a souvenir."

UPDATE: In a TV Guide interview, he said he was hoping to keep his immunity idol a bit longer, thinking he was a strong challenge player and that would keep him around long enough before the merge. He clearly under-estimated how Natalie really hurt him. "I thought I had at least one more vote to get through and I just started to get a little greedy with my idol I guess," he said. "Just overplayed my hand a little bit."

He also said that he had a choice with Natalie verbally cussing him out. Be a "wimp" and take it or be an "a**hole" and bite back. He had to be the latter. But this is what he insists:

As far as how all that went down, I'm not kidding myself to say that I don't come with some kind of stigma, some kind of stereotype, some kind of assumptions that people make about me. And until you get to know me, that's just what you're going to think. You're going to just assume I'm an assh--e, assume I'm a bigot. ... But over the years, not one single person that actually knows me had come forward and agreed with any of those statements about me. Not a single one. In fact, it's been exactly the opposite. People that know me defend me.

He said he and Natalie eventually became friends after the fact and he became friends with her sister at Ponderosa, the place where eliminated contestants get to hang out.

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