There are levels of bitter irony that not even the most hardened cynic, not even the most jaded network exec, is prepared to accept. And amazingly, we seem to have discovered that level during, of all things, the CBS pre-game show that aired before the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Yesterday’s pre-game show should have been, and indeed started out as, pretty much every other pre-game show in history. An amp-up lead-in to the game, where people sit around and jocularly discuss the players’ statistics, what kind of shoes they’re wearing, listen to music, and do whatever else it is people do to get excited about football.
But in lieu of that, viewers found Evening News anchor Scott Pelley delivering a sobering update on the Raven’s own Ray Rice, showing repeatedly the elevator footage of him punching his then-girlfriend in the face. Toward the end of the hour-long show, Pelley drove the nail home with a hammer-blow monologue into the camera. You can see it in the video below.
But that’s not the bitterly ironic part.
According to Sports Illustrated, CBS had originally planned to run an entirely different pre-game show: A pre-recorded performance of Rhianna doing “Run This Town,” with added narrative by comedian Don Cheadle. However, apparently even CBS couldn’t swallow the bitter pill of airing a performance by a very public victim of domestic abuse, just before a Baltimore Ravens’ game. A victim who, some might say, could bear a passing resemblance (passing resemblance) to Janay Rice. Even the Huffington Post noticed a theme here.
But, for what it’s worth, we still think Rhianna performing during a Baltimore Raven’s game would have been entirely appropriate. Provided, of course, she were performing another one of her hit singles:
“Two years ago I challenged the NFL community and all men to seriously confront the problem of domestic violence, especially coming on the heels of the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins. Yet, here we are again dealing with the same issue of violence against women.
Now let’s be clear; this problem is bigger than football. There has been, appropriately so, intense and widespread outrage following the release of the video showing what happened inside the elevator at the casino. But wouldn’t it be productive if this collective outrage, as my colleagues have said, could be channeled to truly hear and address the long-suffering cries for help by so many women? And as they said, do something about it? Like an ongoing education of men about what healthy, respectful manhood is all about.
And it starts with how we view women. For instance, our language is important. When a guy says, ‘you throw the ball like a girl’ or ‘you’re a little sissy,’ it reflects an attitude that devalues women and attitudes will eventually manifest in some fashion. Women have been at the forefront in the domestic violence awareness and prevention arena. And whether Janay Rice considers herself a victim or not, millions of women in this country are.
Consider this: According to domestic violence experts, more than three women per day lose their lives at the hands of their partners. That means that since the night February 15th in Atlantic City [when the elevator incident occurred] more than 600 women have died.
So this is yet another call to men to stand up and take responsibility for their thoughts, their words, their deeds and as Deion [Sanders] says to give help or to get help, because our silence is deafening and deadly.”