CBS Sports has benched Rihanna and Jay Z's "Run This Town" for the rest of the NFL season. After pulling the song last week for the season debut of Thursday Night Football on the network, a CBS Sports spokesperson confirmed for MTV News on Tuesday (September 16) that the song will not be played at all this season.
"Beginning this Thursday, we will be moving in a different direction with some elements of our Thursday Night Football open," the spokesperson said in a statement. "We will be using our newly created Thursday Night Football theme music to open our game broadcast."
On Tuesday afternoon, Jay and Rihanna's label, Roc Nation, issued a statement that further muddied the waters over the use (and then not-use) of the song. "Due to the misuse and misrepresentation of Rihanna's name and participation in connection to CBS' TNF, CBS was not allowed to license and utilize the song 'Run This Town,'" read the statement. "Roc Nation made the decision to not grant the song’s usage."
It was just two weeks ago that CBS announced that Thursday Night Football would be "accompanied by the narration of Academy Award-nominated actor Don Cheadle. Cheadle’s narration sets the scene to kick off the NFL week on Thursday nights, highlighting the division rivalry games. And, asking the question, who will ‘Run This Town’?”
But before the 16-game season on the network even kicked off, the song was pulled from last Thursday's broadcast of a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, whose Ray Rice has been dropped from the team and indefinitely suspended by the league following the revelation of a video of the 212-pound running back punching out his then fiancee in an elevator earlier this year.
The CBS Sports spokesperson did not return requests for comment on what will replace the Jay/Rihanna song and how the opening segment will be tweaked. Rihanna, however, had plenty to say in a series of heated tweets on Tuesday morning, just hours before the announcement.
"CBS you pulled my song last week, now you wanna slide it back in this Thursday? NO, F-ck you!," she wrote.
While CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus vaguely explained to Sports Illustrated that the initial decision to pull the song was a matter of "time" and "tone," many in the media felt that CBS and the NFL were, in essence, punishing Rihanna for being a victim of domestic violence herself at the hands of her ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown, in 2009.