CBS, NFL Network drop Rihanna song from Thursday’s pregame show

Posted at 12:04 AM, Sep 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-12 00:04:49-04

(CNN) — A song featuring pop star Rihanna was dropped this week from the “Thursday Night Football” pregame show to make time for discussion of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident, a spokesman for the NFL Network said.

Alex Riethmiller said the 2009 Jay Z song “Run This Town,” which features Rihanna, will return to the broadcast next week.

The chairman of CBS Sports, which will simulcast the game, told Sports Illustrated that the broadcasters weren’t overreacting to the scandal over the NFL’s reaction to the Rice incident.

“We thought … we needed to have the appropriate tone and coverage,” Sean McManus said. “A lot of the production elements we wanted in the show are being eliminated because of time or tone.”

Rihanna was the victim of domestic violence in February 2009 when she was assaulted by her then-boyfriend, Chris Brown.

Some critics questioned the appropriateness of the song being a part of the telecast for a game involving the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens on Monday cut Rice after video of the running back punching his now-wife was posted by the website TMZ Sports.

After beating Rihanna with his fists, Brown entered a guilty plea to one felony count of assault and was sentenced to probation, counseling and community service.

Rice was admitted into a pretrial intervention program in New Jersey that involves counseling. If he successfully completes one year in the program, the felony charge of assault will be wiped from his record.

Jay Z won two Grammy Awards for “Run This Town.” Besides featuring Rihanna’s singing, the original song also includes rapper Kanye West.

CNN’s Brian Stelter and Yon Pomrenze contributed to this report.

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