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By Pulling Her NFL Performance, CBS Reinforced the Fact That Rihanna Was a Victim Instead of a Survivor of DV

By Agent Bedhead | Industry | September 12, 2014 |

By Agent Bedhead | Industry | September 12, 2014 |

Rihanna was scheduled to perform last night before the Thursday Night Football game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. This has been a week full of (well-deserved) backlash for the NFL. On Monday, TMZ published the newest damning video footage of Ravens’ running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer. Plenty of outrage and profane elegance followed. For her part, Janay attempted self-preservation by defending Rice and blaming the media. Then the giant clusterf*ck turned into a revolting business opportunity for many.

Throughout it all, the NFL has tried to cover its ass and failed miserably. The NFL knew very well about the new video, but they were only interested in their bottom line. As long as Rice was profitable, the league was fine with looking the other way. That 2-game suspension barely made a blip in Rice’s earnings. (The law also failed to adequately punish Rice, but that’s an issue for another discussion.)

Thanks to all the fallout, Rice isn’t profitable anymore, so the NFL had no problem giving him the boot. Not because they were doing the right thing but because dollars mean a lot more than punishing abusers. The NFL coverup of the video is shady beyond belief. And look at all the other recent DV cases involving NFL players.

The most disturbing aspect of this entire week involves all those readily “blaming the victim.” Whether people are dropping the word “provocation” or asking why domestic violence sufferers don’t “just leave,” DV victims are often further victimized by society. Let’s not forget the forced apology from Janay Rice that sat on the Ravens’ Twitter page until Monday:


I’ve gotten a little carried away in this discussion. The point of this post was to talk about how CBS pulled Rihanna out of its pre-game opening act. Why? Back in 2009, Rihanna became a high-profile DV victim after Chris Brown beat the holy hell out of her. You’ve seen the pictures. Don’t make me link to TMZ again. Here’s what CBS had to say about pulling Rih’s performance:

CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said the network has also pulled an opener featuring actor Don Cheadle doing narration over Jay Z’s “Run This Town,” which is sung by Rihanna. A comedic segment was also jettisoned.

“It’s important to realize we are not overreacting to this story but it is as big a story as has faced the NFL,” McManus told from Baltimore Thursday afternoon. “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.”


Honestly? Some people were complaining on Twitter about the “irony” of having Rihanna perform at a Raven’s game. Big deal. You know what’s important here? Rihanna is a DV survivor. She went back to her abuser a few times, but she eventually broke free. People who haven’t experienced DV have no idea how hard it is to break free, no matter the situation. If you haven’t been there, you have absolutely no room to criticize the abused member of a DV scenario. Rihanna could have stood victorious on that stage last night. But no. CBS decided to re-victimize Rihanna and run from the issue. They shut the little woman up. No need to worry. No controversy here. Hey … are you ready for some football?

For her part, Rihanna has stayed uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter following yet another bad decision by CBS and the NFL. And Chris Brown performed on The Tonight Show as scheduled.

Photo credit: Vogue & Getty

Bedhead can also be found at Celebitchy

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