Coach told different stories about leaving; will being wealthy hurt Taj, Brendan?

On last Thursday’s Survivor Tocantins episode, Taj Johnson-George, the SWV singer who’s married to a former NFL star, told her tribemates who she’s married to, and some of them immediately recognized Eddie George.

In his EW blog post about Thursday’s episode, Jeff Probst responded to that, writing, “The problem with Taj’s revelation is that you give people a reason to vote you out. Taj just shouted at the top of her lungs — ‘I don’t need the money! I’m already rich!!!’ That could be costly.” (Someone really needs to take Shift+1 key combination away from Jeff.)

Will that really affect her game? And what about Brendan Synnott, who founded and later sold Bear Naked Granola? That he was being cast was accidentally revealed before the season started, meaning that some of his competitors, including Coach, knew about his profession and wealth.

Tribal Warfare author Chris Wright analyzes Survivor’s history of wealthy contestants and finds that Taj and Brendan’s wealth is “probably not” likely to affect their chances in the game. However, he argues that the economic climate and the fact that revealations about their wealth came earlier than others’ (in Brendan’s case, before the game even started) could change this season, as wealth “might be more of a factor as the game draws to a close.”

Meanwhile, Survivor Tocantins player Ben Wade was recently fired as a coach at the university where he worked, and the ensuing coverage has revealed more details, including inconsistencies in his statements. First, his boss discussed the incident further, saying that Ben “wasn’t truthful to me as the director of athletics on why he needed to leave. … He didn’t come to me and say, ‘I need to leave because I’m going on ‘Survivor,'” athletic director Brent Good, told the News-Leader.

One of the players on his team, first-year student, Rhiane Mitchell, told the News-Leader’s , “I’m still a bit disappointed, but I’ll get over it. We talked, sorted things out. … All the girls told them that we wanted Coach to stay. I was disappointed … because he’s a great coach.”

Earlier, Ben told SBU’s student newspaper, The Omnibus, “I told them ‘I’ve got to leave; you know I would not leave if it weren’t an emergency. I can’t get out of this and I have to go do it. I can’t give you the details.’ Then they jumped to conclusions that it was tied into what I went through with my brain tumor. That was something that grieved me when I came back and realized everyone was freaked out for my health. I was simply not allowed to tell anyone I was going to Brazil to be on ‘Survivor’.”

He told me something completely different on Oct. 30: “I said I’m going to have a lot of testing and evaluations; that was when I flew out there the first time, to L.A. So this time I said I’ve got to go back out, get some testing done, and be away for two months,” Ben said.

Jeff Probst blogs ‘Survivor: Tocantins': episode 2 [Entertainment Weekly]
Survivor Tocantins: Money Trouble for Taj and Brendan? [Tribal Warfare]
Another turn in Wade case and Player: “Survivor” coach told team he had health problems [News-Leader]
Coach Wade voted off SBU Island [Omnibus]