Danny McCray, former NFL player and the latest member of the “Survivor 41” jury, recently sat down to speak with a number of outlets about his elimination, and what we missed during time on the island. Here’s what you need to know.
Deshawn Could Be ‘Too Irrational’ To Work With
In his post-exit Rob Has a Podcast interview with Rob Cesternino, Danny shed light on several elements of the game that fans may have missed.
For one, some fans have been questioning why Danny and his ally Deshawn Radden didn’t unite their votes against another player during Wednesday’s Tribal, such as Xander Hastings or Erika Casupanan, instead of voting for each other. When Cesternino asked him about this, Danny revealed that when it came down to it, he and Deshawn couldn’t risk one of them flipping against the other.
“To be honest,” he explained, “I think you have to remember that ‘Survivor is ‘Survivor’ at that point, and as much as me and Deshawn trusted each other, we both understood that it was that game, and that gives one of us the opportunity to actually put that vote on each other and get one of us out.”
Danny went on to say that there was a great deal of nuance to his relationships that viewers did not see through the edit. For one, his relationship with Deshawn could get more strained than what viewers saw, and indeed it once became so intense that they almost cut ties altogether:
We did have an issue after the Tiffany vote where we decided that we weren’t going to work together any more because I figured he was too emotional for me to work with and too irrational. They didn’t show that that was like a three-hour argument but we did come back together and decide that we were gonna finish the game out.
What We Missed With the Shan Vote
Danny also gave fans some insight as to what went on in episode 10, when he, Deshawn, and Ricard decided to blindside Shan Smith. In his RHAP interview, he explained that there was a scene fans didn’t see where he actually pulled Shan aside and told her of the plan to blindside Ricard, in hopes that she would agree to the plan. She agreed to do so, Danny said, and it was after that when Liana told Shan about the plan to “blindside” her by voting out Ricard. According to Danny, Shan misinterpreted this as a plan to blindside Shan herself, which set in motion the rest of the episode:
Liana tells [Shan] that we’re coming for her, which spooks Shan out, Shan runs back to Ricard and tells him the plan. So I didn’t know that Liana had said that, so in my mind I told Shan that we’re voting out Ricard, she went back to Ricard, and then told Ricard what I told her. So at that point I’m like, we lost Shan and Liana.
At that point, he explained, it was “time to strike before they can take us out.” As he said in an interview with Parade, that made him feel like Shan had “chosen Ricard over the group.”
On why Liana spilled the beans to Shan, Danny suspected it was guilt about agreeing that Shan should be taken out at some point. “Liana and Deshawn did have a conversation about not being able to go to the end with Shan,” Danny explained, “and I guess Liana agreed and that’s why she felt guilty…that’s why she spilled her guts to Shan and really set all that stuff into motion.” For her part, Liana has stated in exit interviews that she wanted to go to the end with Shan, despite the threat she may have posed.
Danny Called Probst Out For Unreasonable Twists
Danny has been vocal in his criticism for the excessive twists used on his season, most notably the season’s “Hourglass twist” in which Erika was able to “reverse time” in episode 7 and change the outcome of a group immunity challenge, a twist among many which have drawn ire from fans and former contestants alike. Apparently Danny was so frustrated at the time he even called out host Jeff Probst on the show.
“I wanna set the record straight,” he said on RHAP, “it is not a twist, it is a lie.” Danny criticized Probst in particular for “lying” to the contestants competing for immunity in episode 6, referring to the host’s motivational comments while competitors compete in a challenge. “When I found out about that twist, I just figured that was super phony. I was really upset because I was like, ‘you cannot be the coach who’s telling me that this is what I have to do that also caused me to lose. It didn’t make sense. It was very difficult to process.”
In Sydney Segal’s exit interview with TVLine, she revealed that Danny “basically reamed Jeff out. He was like, ‘This isn’t a twist. This is a lie! You told us that if we won the challenge, we would get immunity,’ and there was a long conversation about it. Jeff’s like, ‘OK, well maybe I can make it better for future seasons. What can I change’?”
When TVLine asked Dany about this, he laughed, and rejected the notion that he was “yelling” at Probst, but did say they had a discussion about it:
I’m not a confrontational type, and I love Sydney, but I wouldn’t say I was yelling at Jeff…But it was very important for me to let him know that the integrity of the game is at risk when you are the host and you’re able to lie to the contestants. If you go out there and say, ‘Hey man, this is what’s happening,’ kind of like the Do or Die twist, then I can accept that. But when you are the person that says, ‘Work hard, dig hard, you have to earn everything this season on “Survivor”,’ and then you earn it, really just to not earn it, it didn’t sit well with me.”
When asked by Cesternino if he would play again, Danny basically said that as long as the “Hourglass twist” was in, he was out. “I dont wanna stick my foot in my mouth,” he said, “but as long as that hourglass thing is an option, I would never. If that is somehow taken off the table, then of course. But I wouldn’t put myself in that situation again.”
Be sure to catch the season finale of “Survivor 41,” airing Wednesday, December 15 at 8 p.m. on CBS. Season 42 will premiere Wednesday, March 9, 2022.