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Survivor: Redemption Island — Steve Explains Fight With Phillip

May 06, 2011 04:22 PM by Ryan Haidet

“Crazy.”  It’s the word that sparked a big fight between Steve and Phillip on Survivor: Redemption Island.  Phillip equated Steve’s label of “crazy” as a racial comment, which Steve vehemently denied.  Earlier this week, Steve became the third member of the jury after he was eliminated from the competition when he lost the latest duel on Redemption Island.  During a conference call with reporters, Steve talked about that dispute with Phillip, offered his opinions on Boston Rob’s strategy and revealed reasons why he thinks Matt is deserving of winning the whole game.

Question: Talk about how awkward camp life became as a result of the confrontation with Phillip.

Steve Wright: It wasn’t a big deal.  I thought of the positives — that he’s imploding and it was just going to be to my benefit.  I knew that I would shine out of something like that.  I just did my best to try to get him removed.  I was a little concerned about my safety going into the evening and the dark hours with hatchets and machetes around there.  Who knows how far he’d want to take it.  That would be the uncomfortable part.  Other than that, I’ve had just a ton of support from black guys I’ve played with; my black brother-in-law.  I didn’t really have an issue or think that I was shown in a bad light because there was none to shine.

Question: Do you get a sense that Phillip’s crazy actions have been based on strategy?

Steve Wright: I think you can only be an actor for a short time.  There’s no way you can act when the cameras are on you 24/7 for 30-plus days.  The real you is going to come out. …  The real you gets exposed.  It’s the same way he said that he was the red-headed stepchild to the girls.  Or when he thought that Grant and Boston Rob were after him. …  He feels the world is out to get him.  Then he feels he’s really got to blow his chest up and talk about his FBI experience, which I’m sure was a very short stint — if at all.  I just don’t think they would take somebody as unstable — mentally and emotional — as him.

Question: Many of your former tribe members who were eliminated before you have said they would have targeted Boston Rob first had he originally been on the Zapatera tribe.  Just like you guys did to Russell by throwing the challenge.  What’s your take on that?

Steve Wright: I come from a professional team background, and you get rid of somebody that’s going to divide the team.  You do the same thing in business — you hire slow and fire fast.  When Russell got there, he brought us all together to say he’s changed and he’s there for the team.  But I swear to you, within a half hour he had me off to the side because he thought we were going to connect.  He just didn’t like Mike.  He thought Mike ought to go.  I said, “What are you talking about?  We haven’t even built the shelter yet.”  Then it just kind of went on and on and on. …  Rob is more of a team guy.  I think he gets it a little bit more.  I like Rob.  Rob’s been playing a smart game, and he hasn’t rubbed me the wrong way.  He just kind of flies low under the radar, and doesn’t really upset anybody.  He brings a lot of experience.  It would not have been the same with him.  Who knows?  I could have been drinking the Kool-Aid, too.

Question: How do you compare your experience on Survivor to what you’ve done with the NFL?

Steve Wright: Wasn’t even close.  At training camp, you’ve got so much food at your disposal.  They’re making sure you’re keeping your weight up. …  You get a soft bed and air conditioning.  Nothing prepares you for starving.  Just a handful of rice day after day after week after week after week.  I’m 250 pounds.  My body needs 1,500 calories, I’m just guessing, to stay even.  Just eating a little bit of rice, losing over a pound a day, nothing can prepare you for that.

Question: Before you started the game, did you get any advice from Gary Hogeboom, the former NFL quarterback who competed on Survivor: Guatemala?

Steve Wright: No.  No.  We’re not allowed to talk to him.  I kind of wanted to, but no.  I still haven’t talked to him.

Question: Looking at the remaining players, who is the one you would not like to see win this game?

Steve Wright: (Laughs) Probably Phillip.

Question: Reasons other than that he’s crazy?

Steve Wright: There isn’t any other reason.  Everybody is pretty cool.  I don’t think he’s got a bad soul either, he’s just a little nutty.

Question: What about Matt?  Does he deserve to win this game when he hasn’t really played the strategic end of Survivor?

Steve Wright: Yeah, I think he deserves to win.  I think anybody that’s out there enduring those elements for that long has got a right to win.  I was watching him crying on a commercial a week or two ago, and I was going, “My Lord, I would be balling a month ago.”  That’s a lonely, hard place to be by yourself.  While we’re over with crazy Phillip, there’s food and a little more activity and everything else.  You’re over there just talking to a coconut.

Question: What was it about Survivor that made you want to play the game?

Steve Wright: Why not, man?  I bet you’ve thought about it before.  Haven’t you? …  I went in for the challenge and experience.  I watched a couple of the shows through the years, and a lot of my friends have said, “I’ve tried out for that.  I sent in a video for that.”  I got a buddy that sent it in three different times.  I thought, what the hell, I’ll give it a shot.  I sent one in and got a call.  Then the next step and the next step. …

Images courtesy of CBS.

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Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Survivor |

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