In the preview for tonight’s episode of Survivor, former Major League Baseball player John Rocker is confronted about his bigoted past. During an immunity challenge, fellow contestant Natalie Anderson shouts: “Why don’t you say something homophobic or racist?!”
Anderson’s remarks are not out of left field. Rocker’s bigoted views became widely known after a 2000 Sports Illustrated interview where he said what he hates most about New York are the “foreigners.” He followed that up by writing for his own pro-English blog and aligning with white nationalists.
Read more from the Imagine 2050 archives about Rocker’s history of brash xenophobia and nativism.
From the Archives: Former MLB Pitcher John Rocker Publishes on Racist American 3rd Position Party’s Website
Imagine 2050 Staff • Aug 16, 2012
In the late 1990s after being called up by the Atlanta Braves, John Rocker at that time looked poised to become one of the best, if not the best, closer in Major League Baseball. His temperamental and volatile nature, though, made him a hard man to back, and Rocker was traded from the Braves to the Cleveland Indians in 2001. By 2003, he was out of the game completely, largely considered to be untouchable by any-&-all MLB front offices and managers.
Rockers downfall in large part began when the then fledgling talent spoke candidly to Sports Illustrated in January of 2000. Asked whether he would ever consider throwing for either of New York City’s storied franchises, Rocker responded with all the lucidity of the ghost of Ty Cobb:
“I’d retire first. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you’re riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing […] The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?”
Rocker’s brash nativism and xenophobia endure to present today.
With the help of some of the fringe far-Right’s most prominent activists, Rocker has recently embarked on reinventing himself as something of a big-name blogger, taking up the cause of all things pro-English language.
On www.JohnRocker.net, his official website, one can purchase, of course, his autobiography, John Rocker: Scars & Strikes. One can also buy t-shirts that read simply: “Speak English.” And there one can also find the “Speak English Campaign Mission Statement,” authored by former Senator S.I. Hayakawa, who co-founded the group US English with one John Tanton in 1982-83.
John Tanton is of course the white nationalist proponent of eugenics who is widely regarded as the father of the contemporary anti-immigrant movement, i.e. the John Tanton Network. Tanton left US English in 1988 after a racially charged memo he wrote was made public.
Rocker himself now maintains a featured column on Josef Farah’s World Net Daily (WND), where he joins the likes of Ann Coulter on what is a daily go-to hub for all things conspiracy laden for the fringe Right. Josef Farah himself was listed by Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in its 2012 edition of “30 to Watch: 30 New Activists Heading Up the Radical Right.”
Rocker, however, it seems, has taken a huge stride even further out into the extreme Right.
On August 7, 2012, Rocker’s most recent piece from WND, “Time to Wake Up, America!”, was published on the website of the American Third Position Party (A3P), an openly white nationalist group that’s run by a coalition of long-standing leaders within that scene. According to SPLC, A3P evolved from a blend of itself and the Golden State’s Party, the latter being an attempt by a group of racist skinheads called Freedom 14 to found a legitimate political party.
Rocker’s article ends with the following parenthetical: “(Printed with permission from the author.)” And so his article rests among the annals of a website that also holds aloft the grounding ideology that:
“The American Third Position exists to represent the political interests of White Americans.”