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Rihanna, Don Cheadle and Jay Z cut from Thursday Night Football in wake of Ray Rice controversy

"[Ray Rice's domestic violence] is as big a story as has faced the NFL" says chairman of CBS Sports.

By Matt Bradwell
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Rihanna, Don Cheadle and Jay Z cut from Thursday Night Football in wake of Ray Rice controversy
Rihanna, Jay Z and Don Cheadle were cut from the opening of Thursday night's Steelers/Ravens game in Baltimore.. UPI/Paul Treadway | License Photo

BALTIMORE, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- CBS made significant changes to the introduction of the Sept. 11 premiere of Thursday Night Football in response to Ray Rice's domestic abuse scandal, removing an introduction narrated by actor Don Cheadle set to Rihanna singing.

Thursday Night Football's original opening initially planned to feature the Jay Z and Rhianna song "Run This Town" played over Cheadle introducing the Pittsburgh Steelers and Rice's former team the Baltimore Ravens. The video ended with Cheadle posing the question "Who will 'run this town' when the game ends."

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In light of Rice's indefinite suspension and the outrage caused by footage of the former Raven hitting his then-fiancee, CBS instead opted to air Norah O'Donnell's interview with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"It's important to realize we are not overreacting 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."

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