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Survivor: Philippines: Jeff Kent Says Jonathan Penner Wasn’t His Main Target

November 09, 2012 03:00 PM by Ryan Haidet

Prepare yourselves for a really corny introduction: Swing and a miss!  Hey, at least I warned you.  Jeff Kent, former MVP major league baseball star, was stunned to be voted out from Survivor: Philippines when Tribal Council turned into a madhouse.  In an exit interview with reporters, Jeff weighed in on his time on the show, talked about that insane Tribal Council and discussed his closest ally, Carter.  Plus, find out if he thinks being baseball’s MVP or a Survivor champ is more important to him.  Enjoy!

Question: What pissed you off the most watching your elimination episode?

Jeff Kent: Having my name thrown out there as the one to get voted off at the last 15 minutes before we went to Tribal Council without really having time to fix that wrong. …  Maybe a day or two before that, there was I scenario I tried to make happen.  I went to Denise and tried to get her to play more of an offensive game and to vote with me and Carter and Skupin and Penner to try to create an alliance.  She didn’t want anything to do with it.  I was kind of upset that I didn’t try harder, but I was playing a fine line because I didn’t want to get too pushy.  That alliance just didn’t work out, so we went in with our tails between our legs to vote Skupin, being a veteran player. …  It flipped on us all at the last hour.  It was just a bad day.

Question: Do you think you focused too much on getting Penner out of the game?

Jeff Kent: It’s perceived that I focused and was obsessed with Penner, but that is really not the case.  There was never one time I voted for Penner, not give Penner information about the fact that he needed to use his Idol because they were coming after him.  I was working with Penner to get the votes for the Kalabaw tribe because Denise didn’t want to vote with us since she wanted to go with Malcolm. …

Question: So you were the person who told Penner last week to play the Idol?

Jeff Kent: I was.  I was trying to get the votes so Kalabaw could have a strong six, but Denise didn’t want to follow us.  Denise wanted to vote with Malcolm and I couldn’t get her to come over, so I was trying every angle in the world to keep Penner with us and he wouldn’t have to use his Idol.  Before we went to Tribal Council, I sat down with him — he and I shared a lot of information together — I told him, “Man, they’re coming after you.  They’re coming for you.”  So he ended up using the Idol.

Question: Do you know why Penner voted against Abi?

Jeff Kent: We were trying to give signals to each other while the vote was going on.  There was a suggestion that Penner and I would split the votes just in case Pete used the Idol.  I told Penner that we didn’t have enough votes.  Because of that, I believe Penner did one of two things.  He either knew that there was gonna be enough votes to keep me there because Skupin was supposed to vote for Pete.  Therefore, Penner could throw a vote wherever he wanted.  I think he threw a barb at Abi-Maria because she kept pissing everybody off.  The other thing that makes more sense to me, if Penner tried to play both sides of the fence whereas he wasn’t so convinced that Pete wasn’t going to use Abi-Maria’s Idol because they were a little, tight team.  So he may have believed that Pete might use the Idol.  If that’s the case, I would go home, which is OK in his eyes.  He didn’t care so much.  But then he would be able to go back to camp and tell Pete, “Hey, I never voted for you so let’s do something here.”  I think he was trying to play both sides and I’m the one that got burned.

Question: Who did you think betrayed you in the vote?

Jeff Kent: When I sat there and I saw the votes coming out and one vote was for Abi-Maria, I went, “Who in the heck did that?”  I had no idea it was Penner.  We were tight.  We voted tight together and we shared information even though it looked like I was after him all the time.  I wanted to use him to go forward and that was the perfect moment to use each other.  Because the names were coming up so quick, it never dawned on me who was voting.  I didn’t recognize the writing on the paper.  When it got to a tie, I’m thinking Pete’s gotta go home.  When Jeff looked at Pete when he was reading the last vote I knew it was me.  I was dumbfounded.  That whole game started to run through my head at one time.  I wasn’t mad about it.  Then I got to do my interviews and I got on my rant because I was pissed off I didn’t win.  I figured it was Skupin and Penner (who betrayed).  Fitting, absolutely fitting.  It’s kind of hilarious and comical.

Question: It seemed like the Dangrayne tribe had no backup plan on who to target in the case that Jonathan Penner was able to win Immunity.  What was going on?

Jeff Kent: There was.  It was Skupin.  It was simple and that’s why I don’t think it was ever talked about much on the final cut because there was so much talk from me about wanting to get Penner out.  I never voted for Penner.  Penner and I had a sub-alliance going and I was feeding Penner information about things.  So we were working well together.  Heck, I wasn’t even gonna vote for him that night either.  I was trying to deflect all the attention away from me and put it on him.  The backup plan was still no big deal.  If Penner won, it was Skupin.  I think we underestimated the relationship that Lisa had with Skupin.  She’s starting to play the game now like she never had before.  We’re all in shock now with how she’s playing the game.  That was the plan and it was simple.  It didn’t come out that way though.

Question: Did you ever consider telling everybody about your lucrative past as a professional baseball player as a strategic move with the argument that nobody would vote for you to win since you had made $60 million in your career?

Jeff Kent:  I may have thought about that in the scenario I ever thought I was ever going to become a threat to somebody.  But nowhere ever during the whole course of the game was I ever a threat until the last 15 minutes of the game.  It never came up, it was never talked about and I was too naïve to not think it would happen at that moment (getting voted off).  If it were, I may use that as a bullet.  No doubt, I would have pulled everything out of my bag to try to save my own butt.  I was scrambling because we had to leave and I was scrambling to get something done as quick as I could and it never dawned on me that I ought to throw that secret out there because I thought we had six votes going our way.  I thought I was OK.

Question:  How shocked were you that Dawson recognized you?

Jeff Kent: I never knew Dawson knew who I was until I watched the show.  She never talked to me about it.  She dropped hints about being a sports-knowledgeable person.  But Dawson, she was out there.  She is a flowy, airhead-type person.  So I figured there was no way she knows me.  I was more worried about Penner ‘cause Penner had told me that one of his favorite teams is the Dodgers.  I was able to play being like everybody else.  It was really cool and I appreciated it.

Question: What was going on with your knee injury?

Jeff Kent: I hurt it bad.  I went in with knee-reconstruction surgery about eight months before I left for the game.  My knee was still kind of sore, it wasn’t 100 percent.  I got there and I hurt it and I knew I hurt it bad.  I was real scared. …  Then the rains came and we didn’t have to do a whole lot.  My knee started to calm down a little bit, but I knew I tore my ACL.  We had all those mud challenges that I had to do and I couldn’t be 100 percent.  I had to pick and choose the things that I could do.  I could run straight, but the slippery, muddy stuff where your knees are moving, I just couldn’t do that stuff very well. …

Question: We have heard from previously eliminated castaways that you were closest to Carter.  Would you agree with that?

Jeff Kent: Absolutely.  It got to a point where I wasn’t hiding it anymore.  When we merged together I kind of allowed Carter to go off and be friends with Pete and the younger crowd hoping that he wouldn’t get sucked in.  I was a little nervous about that ‘cause they were younger than I was.  But we were the tightest.  Watching the show now, I don’t think there’s anybody on there that has the trust relationship that we had.

Question: What drew you to Carter?

Jeff Kent: He has a personality similar to me. …  He went to school in southern California where I grew up.  I knew the school that he went to, I actually played baseball there a few times.  I knew about his life.  He was a fitness guy, a fitness freak in great shape.  I was a sports guy, knowing about fitness even though I didn’t tell him who I was.  We just hit it off.  His attitude and his personality I really understood.  We just related well together and he, like me, we were looking for somebody willing to rely on.  I gave him that opportunity and he gave me the same.

Question: Was your plan to stick with Carter all the way to the end?

Jeff Kent: Absolutely.  I’m loyal to a fault.  I didn’t think Carter’s personality was bigger than mine, so therefore, I would have gone mano y mano, do you like me or do you like him?  I would have thought that maybe I would have earned it more because I was more strategic, I was a better challenge player, I provided food and, hopefully, I would have been able to go over the edge if it were to be me against him.

Question: Did you recognize who Lisa was?

Jeff Kent: I had an intuition that she was somebody, but I had no idea who she was.

Question: How did you end up on the show?

Jeff Kent: I’ve been a fan of the show since the getgo, since day one.  The opportunity came for me to try out.  I did.  I made a video and went through all the interview processes thinking I was gonna get kicked to the curb.  I was invited to participate and jumped at the opportunity.

Question: Being a fan of the show, was there any particular previous castaway you were hoping to model your strategies after?

Jeff Kent: No, not really.  I think I had my favorite players out there, but there was no real strategy.  The game has changed so much over time that the only thing I took from a lot of the shows was just to be able to manipulate myself with the game.  Being able to make changes when I need to, have backup plans and be adjustable.  I knew I needed to come in and adjust myself to the game.

Question: This may be a silly question, which means more, being a baseball MVP or a Survivor champ?

Jeff Kent: (Lauhgs) Out on that island I didn’t really care about that MVP award, I wanted that Survivor deal.  Sitting back at home, I’ve loved baseball and appreciated it so much.  There’s absolutely nothing that could take away from being a baseball player — especially an MVP.

What are your thoughts on what Jeff Kent had to say in this interview?  Were you surprised he was voted out?  Sound off and leave a comment below!

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Photo Credit: CBS

Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Survivor |

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