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‘SNL’ tackles the NFL’s Jon Gruden email scandal

<i>Will Heath/NBC</i><br/>James Austin Johnson as Jon Gruden during SNL's
Will Heath/NBC
Will Heath/NBC
James Austin Johnson as Jon Gruden during SNL's "Football Press Conference" cold open on October 16

By Frank Pallotta, CNN Business

The NFL had a rough week, and “Saturday Night Live” made sure to tackle it on this weekend’s episode.

The NBC variety show kicked off with a cold open that covered the scandal around former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who resigned Monday after reports emerged of him using homophobic, racist and misogynistic language in emails while he worked as an ESPN analyst.

“I’m ‘Preferred to Remain Anonymous,’ and I handle public relations for the NFL,” Cecily Strong said opening the show while standing behind a NFL podium. “So if anyone wants to switch jobs, let me know,”

Strong then brought out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, played by Colin Jost.

“When you see me on TV, it’s never good,” Jost’s Goodell said. “This time one of our coaches is accused of racism, misogyny and homophobia, but hey, at least nobody’s talking about concussions.”

Jost’s Goodell then said the NFL understands that “diversity is our strength.”

“And I know our black coaches would agree,” he said. “Both of them.”

Gruden, played James Austin Johnson, then came out to explain himself.

“I’m sorry to all of the Raiders fans out there,” Johnson’s Gruden said. “I hope you won’t judge me on one email I sent ten years ago … or the 20 emails I sent last Tuesday.”

Johnson’s Gruden then brought out Raiders owner Mark Davis played by Alex Moffat, distinctive haircut and all.

“What coach Gruden did was disgraceful,” he said. “We need to do better, okay? We need to, as I always tell my barber: aim higher.”

Moffat’s Davis explained that he’s heard all of the jokes about his hair including that it looks like former President Donald Trump’s hair gave his hair a haircut before bringing out a new coach for the Raiders, played by Pete Davidson.

“It’s an honor to take over this storied franchise and a real shame that I have to immediately resign,” he said. “They just found my emails too and they are so much worse than the old coach’s.”

The sketch then brought out other coaches, cheerleaders and mascots to talk about the scandal before bringing out activist and former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, played by Chris Redd.

“So much stuff coming out about the NFL being racist,” he said. “I wonder if anyone tried to warn people about this before?!”

Moffat’s Davis then came back out one last time and tried to find a solution that makes everyone happy: hiring actor and once-prospective “Jeopardy!” host LeVar Burton, played Kenan Thompson, as the new coach of the Raiders.

“The NFL is going to be just fine,” Moffat’s Davis said before launching into the show’s catch phrase, “Live from New York! It’s Saturday night!”

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