One of last week’s biggest stories in the news was Mike Pence’s staged walkout during the 49ers-Colts game in Indianapolis. Presumably in attendance for the ceremony honoring Peyton Manning, the vice president left the game when 49ers players kneeled during the national anthem.
As it turns out, Pence’s gesture and supposed outrage was completely pre-meditated, accompanied by a statement ready for the press and public just minutes after he left his seat at Lucas Oil Stadium. But the administration’s objective was accomplished. On Monday, Pence’s walkout and President Trump’s continued attacks on NFL player protests drew most of the media’s attention, rather than, for example, the White House’s response to Puerto Rico’s hurricane recovery, tax reform, health care, or the president’s strained relationship with his Secretary of State.
So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that Saturday Night Live poked fun at Pence’s walkout during its cold open. The opening sketch depicted Trump (Alec Baldwin) speaking to truckers in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and communicating with Pence (Beck Bennett) as he walked out of several other events.
“That’s why I had Mike Pence go to the Colts game on Sunday,” said SNL’s Trump, “and when those players knelt for the anthem, I told him to get the hell out of there.
“But don’t worry — we’re taking Mike’s Colts season tickets and donating them to two lucky fans in Puerto Rico. They just have to fly themselves to Indiana and book their own hotel. Because at some point, they have to start doing things for themselves.”
Trump then contacted Pence at an Indiana Pacers game and was ordered to leave when one of the players began to kneel. Later, he got back in touch with his vice president at a Starbucks, telling him to get out of there because the cups didn’t say “Merry Christmas” — even though Pence pointed out that it was October.
That wasn’t the only sports-related story SNL took on this week. During the Weekend Update segment, anchor Michael Che responded to Mike Ditka’s criticisms of NFL player protests and his comment that “There has been no oppression over the last 100 years.”
Che then joked that Ditka would replace Jemele Hill during her two-week suspension from ESPN.