EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated to include heated reaction from viewers via Twitter.
The latest episode of NBC’s Saturday Night Live devoted considerable time to poking fun at homophobic and misogynist stereotypes about sports, from the WNBA to British soccer, as well as to make a joke about former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner. And the twitterverse noticed.
go back and look at the skits from this night. Several were surprisingly disrespectful to women. WNBA, Ladies learn power point, the magic act, the soccer match all seemed out of touch. I’m a fan but be better than this— Tony Evans (@Evans72T) March 11, 2019
One of the skits on Saturday’s live show, hosted by actor Idris Elba, was titled “GoldDiggers of the WNBA,” about men whose aim is to become “the kept men” of female pro basketball players, even though the punchline implied most of the players were gay.
NBA sideline reporter Molly Sullivan tweeted to the show’s Twitter account: “do better,” and she wasn’t alone.
Do better.— Molly Sullivan (@MollySullivanTV) March 11, 2019
Do better @nbcsnl, this wasn't cool at all— John Matthew (@JoohnMatthew) March 10, 2019
Writers Michael Che, Colin Jost, Kent Sublette and Bryan Tucker deserve some credit for the pointed commentary about how little women in the WNBA earn, compared to NBA players. “A contract worth $60 to 90 G’s a year,” was another punchline. That of course is considerably less than Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who’ll take home $37,457,154 this season, and even less than small forward Danuel House Jr., of the Houston Rockets, whose salary is $116,224 this year.
That’s a topic SB Nation writer Natalie Weiner has covered extensively. And in her tweet, she didn’t cut SNL any slack for the skit that she said did nothing but “reinforce every cliche about women athlete’s sexuality.”
what in the world made SNL think they should make a skit about WNBA pay reinforce every cliche about women athletes’ sexuality https://t.co/F7d5wrwM2q— Natalie Weiner (@natalieweiner) March 10, 2019
apologize to every girl and woman basketball player you insulted with this insanely regressive sketch— Natalie Weiner (@natalieweiner) March 10, 2019
The three guys dressed in loud, 1970s-style suits hoped to hook up with the pros, so they might enjoy such perks as a two-bedroom condo, an Orlando timeshare, shopping sprees at Nordstrom Rack and to upgrade their ride from a 2003 Toyota Camry to a 2016 model.
The first player the dudebros encounter was played by Cecily Strong, who spoke with a deep, male-sounding voice and stood on what filmmakers call an apple box, to make her appear taller on TV. Her character’s efforts to talk with the men were rebuffed because she was, in their words, nothing more than a benchwarmer.
SNL regular Leslie Jones played former UConn and Connecticut Sun player Tamika Williams-Jeter, now an assistant coach at Penn State University. In the skit, Jones refused the advances of the colorfully-dressed characters played by Elba and cast member Kenan Thompson and featured player Chris Redd. Instead, she leaves the DoubleTree hotel bar with a lesbian named Trish, played by out actress Kate McKinnon. In real life, Williams-Jeter is married to former NBA player Richard Jeter. The couple has one son, R.J., born in 2015.
Amber Fox, the VP of the Connecticut Sun, tweeted that she found the skit “tone deaf.”
Disappointed in the @SNL women who participated in the WNBA skit. Female comedians have been vocal about the fight for equality. Sad they were tone deaf re: female athletes in the same fight & silly stereotypes. I’ll still watch & support. Hope they will do the same. #dobetter— Amber Cox (@MoheganMaven) March 10, 2019
Redd’s character, “Donnell aka Young Buck,” asked his friends if WNBA players at this party were likely to be lesbians. “What are the odds she leaves with another woman?” he asked.
“Probably nine out of ten,” replied “Terry Mack,” played by Elba. “A huge chance,” adds Keenan’s “Lionel Hodges.”
This was a bad sketch, SNL. Women’s sports should be part of the national conversation, but not in a way that reinforces negative (and untrue) stereotypes.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) March 10, 2019
This is embarrassing, and backwards.— Just a guy, ya know? (@mstapelm) March 11, 2019
March 11, 2019
Watch for yourself at this link.
In a later skit, the British host played “Dave ‘The Bruiser’ Kooseman,” a dimwitted and homophobic player for Arsenal who joined two Skysports announcers in the broadcast booth for Premiere League Football coverage, prior to a match against Manchester United. Kooseman couldn’t play on account of a ligament injury to one of his legs. When the announcers, played by cast regulars Mikey Day and Alex Moffat, asked him what he thought about trading his kit (aka uniform) for a suit and tie, Elba’s character replied, “Feels a bit gay.”
“Don’t say that, David!” replied Day’s character.
After the announcers used the telestrator to highlight two players on the pitch by drawing circles around them, they invited Elba’s character to help them understand the strategy of a key play. Instead, he instead drew a penis, and he also talked about the penis size of a teammate, and how much he’d like to have sex with another teammate’s wife, and her mum.
We’re not sure what the point was, other than to imply that British soccer players are morons (which they are not) with the maturity level of 12-year-olds (we don’t agree) and the raging sex-drive of a 17-year-old (no comment).
But it was clear what point the writers were trying to make about the 1976 decathlon winner, Caitlyn Jenner, in the first sketch of SNL, a mock game show called “Can I Play That?”
Two members of the cast and Elba played Hollywood actors, competing to answer which parts they could and couldn’t play, a not-so-subtle slam against transgender activists who object to cisgender actors playing trans characters.
Jenner’s name came up when Thompson, as the game show host, asked if Hollywood were to do a biopic film on the life of the transgender former Olympian: “Who could play Caitlyn Jenner?” Cecily Strong answered, “No one!” And Thompson responded, “That is correct! It is an impossible movie to make. I dare someone to try!”
Is SNL aware there are in fact other former athletes who are transgender women, as well as trans actors working in Hollywood? Apparently not.