It wasn’t long ago that Rihanna was the most high-profile victim of domestic violence in America. That fact wasn’t lost on CBS, which aired Thursday night’s NFL matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, or the millions of fans who tuned in. The network decided against broadcasting the singer’s pre-recorded performance before Baltimore’s first game since video emerged showing former Ravens running back Ray Rice brutally punch his now-wife, Janay.
CBS also dropped a comedy segment that was set to air, replacing it with a report about Rice from “CBS This Morning” anchor Norah O’Donnell. “It’s important to realize we are not overacting to this story, but it is as big a story as has faced the NFL,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told Sports Illustrated. ”We thought journalistically and from a tone standpoint, we needed to have the appropriate tone and coverage. A lot of the production elements we wanted in the show are being eliminated because of time or tone.”