Skip to main content

'Saturday Night Live' Parodies Jon Gruden, NFL Email Scandal in Cold Open

It's not often that Saturday Night Live tackles sports when an athlete is not hosting, but the NFL's email scandal proved too juicy for NBC's late-night comedy show to resist. 

On Monday, Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigned after the release of emails he had sent with misogynistic, racist and anti-LGBTQ comments.

The latest edition of the sketch show opens with an NFL public relations staffer named "Preferred to Remain Anonymous," played by Cecily Strong. She hands off the faux press conference to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell by saying, "This is not the NFL draft, but it's still okay to boo him."

In comes SNL's Weekend Update host Colin Jost as Goodell, who admits, "When you see me on TV, it's never good." Jost's Goodell then tries to downplay the scandal by doubling down on the league's pursuit of diversity.

"I assure you all 32 teams in our league understand that diversity is our strength, and I know our Black coaches would agree—both of them," Jost says.

SI Recommends

Jon Gruden, played by James Austin Johnson, comes to the podium next. (Jost's Goodell said he agreed to let the coach speak after Gruden begged on his knees. "And you know how much I hate seeing someone kneel," said Jost, in reference to Colin Kaepernick.)

"I hope you won't judge me on one email I sent ten years ago, or the 20 emails I sent last Tuesday," Johnson as Gruden says.

Then comes Alex Moffat as Raiders owner Mark Davis, bursting with jokes about the owner's haircut. "We need to—as I always tell my barber—aim higher," Moffat's Davis says.

Moffat introduces a parade of interim coaches who immediately resign from the post. Then a Washington Football Team cheerleader played by Heidi Gardner tries to smooth over the scandal with a cringeworthy announcement of the team's new mascot named "Giuseppe the Stinky Italian" based on "white stereotypes,"

Finally, Chris Redd as Kaepernick and even Kenan Thompson as LeVar Burton step to the podium in the eight-minute opener.

The skit left one thing for certain: The NFL may be one of the few organizations that has faced a steeper decline in recent memory than SNL.

More NFL Coverage: