Exit Interview: Steve Wright Talks SURVIVOR REDEMPTION ISLAND

While many will argue that the introduction of “Redemption Island” is SURVIVOR’s biggest twist this season, some… okay we like to think that the far bigger surprise has a little something to do with the fact that for the first time in the history of the series, ousted contestants will have to face off against… us! Yes, you’re reading that correctly, theTVaddict.com is honored to have been asked to take part in the traditional one-on-ones with each week’s eliminated contestant, the ninth of which was Steve Wright.

Despite the touchy subject matter, we’d be remiss if we didn’t start off by asking about the controversy surrounding your remarks to Philip. Having shot the show months ago, were you at all concerned with how the sensitive subject that is race might turn out after the show’s masterful editors got a hold of the footage?
Steve Wright: To be honest with you, I just didn’t give it a second though because I know that I took the high road the whole time. I’m confident that I didn’t have a prejudice bone in my body and it would be pretty tough to twist it that much to show that there was something prejudice with me. After the episode aired, I got a ton of responses from NFL players around the league that I played with throughout my 13 years and my brother-in-law… prejudice my ass. Philip’s on crack and I really wasn’t concerned about it. I was more concerned about having him being a looney-tune at night with all the machetes and everything else around there.

Over the course of the season, there’s absolutely no denying that Philip has at times come across as somewhat off-his-rocker. That said, there has been one or two moments where we thought that perhaps he’s simply putting on one of the greatest acts in reality TV show history. Having been one of the few people to experience the full Philip in all his SURVIVOR glory, is there any chance that he’s concocted a character?
I say it’s 100% impossible. I think you can be a great actor for a few hours, a day, or every other day or something… not twenty-four-seven for over a month. The real you just comes out and from what I watched and witnessed just watching the season, he claims the whole world is out to get him. He doesn’t have a lot of confidence, there’s a huge chip on his shoulder and that’s why when I signed off and wrote his name on there the last time. I said I hope he finds some piece in his heart because that would be an ugly way to go through life. He’s not acting.

Having an NFL background, one imagines that you have a history of putting up with annoying teammates off the field as a result of the experience and skill they bring to the game on the field. Looking back on your tribe’s downward spiral, do you regret voting off Russell, one of the game’s foremost experts?
I don’t and I’ve thought about it many times. We won the next challenge and the way I see it, it was just a one man wrecking crew of Grant. Grant just killed us. I lived with Russell for eight days or something and when he landed on the island, before the first sundown he pulled me to the side and said, “You and I are going to team up. I like your style, you’re a big guy, we’re going to kick some ass together and Mike is someone we’re going to have to get rid of.” And I said, “Great conversation, but lets ice it for two or three weeks and win some challenges.” His response was, “Yeah, you’re right, I just wanted to let you know and say I’m with you.” And then I’d watch him start working over Mike and kind of glance over at me and Ralph. He just did this twenty-four-seven, at night, during the day, working everybody so while we’re building the shelter, getting wood, he’s working somebody. And to live with that, well, it really gets old and puts a lot of bad energy in the camp. That and, he was just so lazy until it was time to eat and then he’d just jump right in there. I don’t have anything positive to say about him. It’s kind of one of those things, we just had to get rid of him. He just wasn’t bringing anything to the challenges, camp life and a real negative pull on everybody’s emotions. Plus, he just poisoned the two girls, the two slugs that were his harem.

As a viewer, one of the season’s highlights has been watching Rob play puppet master. Watching the show these past few months, have you been surprised by just how controlling he was of his tribe mates?
It has been really enlightening, I knew he had a grip on him, but I had no idea it was so deep! He has just played the game masterfully, all of us getting caught up in the “Murlonio” name, how it was this great name, I was like “WOW, you got me too man!” But hey it would be a little embarrassing to be sitting around with your family and watching how you were just a puppet.

Exactly! You may have been booted off, but at least you went out with your dignity.
We went out swinging the best we could. I let them all know we’re all voting for Grant, or Philip, just so somebody would jump ship… only to watch the show and see the girls go right back and tell Rob.

As someone with a storied sports history, it must have been frustrating to be so powerless.
It was tough, we worked the girls pretty hard, Andrea, Ashley, in the hopes that one of them would change their mind, just write somebody’s name down with us just to stir it up a little bit. But we could not break them.

Looking back, what will you take away from this once in a lifetime experience?
Just being present with friends. Not being distracted by your phone, other things that are happening. Stay present and don’t complain because everybody’s in the same boat together. And you can get by with less, you don’t need everything that you’ve got. Life does go on.

SURVIVOR airs Wednesday at 8PM on CBS (Global TV in Canada)

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  • Nick

    There comes a certain age when men and women should not be photographed (if seen, even) in swim attire. Steve has reached that age.

  • Steve is 50. Suffice to say, I will not be looking that good when I get there! Will you?

  • Anonymous

    thing is zap 6 cant accept the fact that what they done to russell backfire to them on the long run not on just a challenge after that, as an NFL, you shouldnt have to reason out that shame loser… and also Added that you stop playing the game after voting russell off coz you dont want to strategize anymore and stick with bond you have 6, that’s why on merge, it came back to haunt you as rob control his tribe— added to the fact that why rob had control because of that “bond” you had given them, by losing some important reward/immunity challenge that would perhaps different if you had won coz ometepe would keep on scrambling voting their own tribemates…