CBS had planned to play Jay-Z’s “Run This Town,” featuring Rihanna, at the start of its season-opening Thursday Night Football program, which last week featured the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Baltimore Ravens — whose star Ray Rice has been banned from the National Football League over knocking out his now-wife.
CBS dropped the song, as well as a comedy segment, citing a need for the “appropriate tone” to the broadcast. Apparently, it had the intention to use it in the opening of this week’s program.
But Rihanna — herself the victim of a highly publicized 2009 assault by singer and then-boyfriend Chris Brown — wasn’t impressed with the move.
In a statement that did not mention Rihanna directly, the network said it would go in a “different direction” and use “our newly created ‘Thursday Night Football’ theme music.”
CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus, speaking last week to Sports Illustrated, said the network had made changes amid criticism that the professional sports world was slow to punish Rice, who was filmed at a casino knocking out the woman who is now his wife.
The network also cut a comedy segment from Thursday’s broadcast as “we needed to have the appropriate tone and coverage,” the executive told the magazine.
Brown pleaded guilty in 2009 to assaulting Rihanna, who suffered facial injuries and was forced to cancel an appearance at that year’s Grammy Awards. Rihanna later resumed a relationship with Brown, shocking many fans. (AFP)