Rihanna, CBS bench opening number for Thursday football

Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:02pm EDT
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - R&B singer Rihanna's record label on Tuesday said it has refused to license a song to CBS for its "Thursday Night Football" program after the TV network chose not to use the song in its season opener because it was focused on the NFL's domestic violence scandal.

The Roc Nation label made its announcement after Rihanna, who was assaulted by singer and then-boyfriend Chris Brown on the eve of the 2009 Grammy Awards, railed against CBS on Twitter for scrapping her featured part in rapper Jay Z's "Run This Town" along with other planned content.

"Roc Nation made the decision to not grant the song's usage," Jay Z's Roc Nation label said in a statement.

The record label revoked the licensing before Tuesday because of the way CBS handled the situation, a spokeswoman said.

CBS said earlier on Tuesday it will open the show with original theme music instead of Rihanna's singing.

The CBS Corp -owned network, which won the rights to broadcast NFL games in primetime on Thursdays this season, did not use the song as part of its planned opening segment last week in a game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Instead, the network covered the indefinite suspension of former Ravens running back Ray Rice for domestic abuse and an essay on domestic violence among other content.

The United States' most popular sport league and its commissioner Roger Goodell have come under intense public criticism for the way the Rice case was handled.   Continued...

Singer Rihanna arrives for the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards (CFDA) at Lincoln Center in New York June 2, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri