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CBS cancels Rihanna performance ahead of Thursday night's NFL game

CBS cancels Rihanna performance ahead of Thursday night's NFL game
A song performed by Rihanna was to open the CBS broadcast of Thursday night's NFL game. The network instead decided to start with a report from Norah O'Donnell, who interviewed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP/Getty Images)

CBS has decided not use Rihanna's segment before Thursday night's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, Sports Illustrated reported.

Instead, the network will start with a report from Norah O'Donnell, who interviewed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday.

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The game was originally set to open with a rendition of "Run This Town" by Rihanna, who was attacked by Chris Brown in 2009, but CBS has decided not to air that portion of the opening as the NFL faces public ire over how it handled Ray Rice punching his then-fiance and other incidents of domestic violence by players.

Images from the aftermath of Rihanna’s assault, for which Brown later pleaded guilty to a felony as part of an agreement with prosecutors, were splashed over the TMZ website. That’s the same site that published a video this week showing Rice knocking out his then-fiance with one punch in an elevator.

Rihanna's performance had been scheduled to open each of the 16 Thursday night NFL games this season, accompanied by narration from actor Don Cheadle, according to a news release from the league.

In 2009, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge sentenced Brown to five years of probation and 180 days of community service for the assault on Rihanna.

Follow Nathan Fenno on Twitter @nathanfenno

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