CBS made a last-minute decision to drop Rihanna from performing during last night’s Ravens-Steelers NFL pregame show, leading fans to note the obvious irony.
Instead of a performance featuring the singer, the network instead aired commentary about Ray Rice, the disgraced former Baltimore running back.
The video of Rice knocking out Janay Palmer which surfaced this week led to his release and indefinite suspension, while embroiling the NFL in controversy.
Rihanna, of course, can feel Palmer's pain, and like Rice's now-wife, famously took back her abuser romantically even after he pummeled her brutally.
She and Chris Brown have broken up a second time, but it's impossible not to note the parallels, and the incongruence of Rihanna getting nixed by CBS.
The league is facing major backlash for failing to take harsher action against Ray, initially suspending him for just two games before this video leaked.
Some have speculated that they saw this video prior to this week, or that the powers that be didn't try too hard to track it down. Either way, the NFL looks terrible.
Perhaps that’s why CBS decided to ax its opening Thursday Night Football act, even if Rihanna and her hit song "Run This Town" have no link to the scandal.
Chris Brown and Ray Rice, who says he's trying to stay strong for his family, are easy to mention in the same breath, however, being famous abusers.
Still, some Rihanna fans were outraged by the decision to pull the performance by a domestic violence VICTIM just to give more attention to the attacker.
Critics noted the celebrated presence of Steelers star Ben Roethlisberger (two sexual abuse investigations) and Ravens great Ray Lewis (murder charges).
Just a sampling of the many choice Tweets regarding the topic:
- So let me get this right. So the NFL decides to not let a domestic violence victim (Rihanna) perform because they are having a DV scandal?!
- I'm still pissed off about the whole Rihanna song situation. Really CBS?! Punishing the victim once again. It's like no one is learning
- So, @CBS has decided to re-victimize Rihanna and punish her, yet still show public support to both the NFL and Roger Goodell?
- So Rihanna (a victim) gets dropped from CBS' #TNF but Ben Roethlisberger (serial abuser) gets to play ... okay then.
- Pulling Rihanna from the pre-game show feels like another misguided move. Running from the issue, punishing a victim... just weak.
- Reducing Rihanna to being just a victim and pulling her song off the broadcast shows that the NFL and networks support women how exactly?
- Ray Rice jerseys everywhere, Big Ben at QB, Ray Lewis is doing analyst, and Rihanna (a domestic abuse victim) was supposed to sing. #NFL
- PSA: While there's no @rihanna song on NFL tonight, you can catch Chris Brown on The Tonight Show. #BeThere?
A CBS Sports spokeswoman explained that they felt they had to "change the tone and format of the show to dedicate more time to covering the Ray Rice story.”
“It’s important to realize we are not overreacting to this story but it is as big a story as has faced the NFL,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus added.