Do two PR wrongs make a right?
CBS Sports and the NFL will find out when Rihanna’s voice doesn’t introduce tonight’s game pitting the Baltimore Ravens against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This game, and future Thursday Night Football matches, were set to open with a pre-recorded performance of Jay Z and Rihanna’s “Run This Town,” which came out in 2009 — you know, the same year Chris Brown brutally assaulted her. Unless you’ve been living in an RF anechoic chamber of late, you’ve likely read a thing or two about the Ravens.
If not, the team’s running back Ray Rice is facing the consequences of committing a horrifying act of violence against his now wife, and the entire league’s collective calloused foot (balls too, we hope) is being held to the fire while they change their policy regarding their massive muscle-bound players (employees) beating the shit out of women.
So: Bad PR Move No. 1, obviously, was putting Rihanna into play. Hence:
Rihanna is doing the intro song for tonight’s Ravens/Steelers game b/c the NFL thinks their fans suffer from memory loss, not the players.
— Ian Cohen (@en_cohen) September 11, 2014
Faced with much criticism, the broadcasters and their masters decided upon an audible: pulling Rihanna from the game. This is, in one writer’s opinion, Bad PR Move No. 2, as it not only seems like a late attempt to avoid bringing attention to the issue, but also kinda sorta punishes RiRi for being on the wrong end of Chris Brown’s fists five years ago.
So “Run This Town” and a Don Cheadle voice-over that would’ve been the pre-game opener (and may still be for future installments) have been removed from tonight’s scheduling, to be replaced with — Good PR Move No. 1 — a report about Rice helmed by CBS This Morning‘s Norah O’Donnell. A comedic segment was also cut from the lineup, as Sports Illustrated reports. Yeah, good call, ref.