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CBS and the NFL punished Rihanna for being a victim of domestic abuse

Raphael Dias
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Last week, in the wake of the NFL's Ray Rice domestic abuse suspension, CBS decided to pull a segment from Thursday Night Football that featured Jay-Z's and Rihanna's song "Run This Town." Now, the network, according to Rihanna, is using the song for its second week of Thursday night coverage. That isn't sitting well with the Grammy-Award-winning singer:

The decision to cut the Rihanna song was made because the network "needed to have the appropriate tone and coverage," CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told Sports Illustrated. Underneath that corporate speak is an acknowledgment that Rihanna was a victim of a highly-publicized domestic abuse case and a tacit fear that audience members would have been reminded of the Rice video because they associate Rihanna with domestic abuse.

While the network believes what it did was in good faith, it essentially punished Rihanna for being a victim of domestic abuse and penalized her for Ray Rice's assault. Rihanna is more than a poster image for a crime she didn't commit. And CBS, by pulling her song, made it that much harder to get this point across.

Update: The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that CBS has dropped the song.

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