While some NFL announcers have struggled in addressing domestic violence amid the Ray Rice scandal, CBS Sports' James Brown did not. The veteran broadcaster delivered an impassioned plea on the topic, issuing a "call to men to stand up and take responsibility for their thoughts, their words, their deeds," before the start of a game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night:
"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 on-going education of men about what healthy, respectful manhood is all about," Brown said.
"And it starts with how we view women. Our language is important," he continued. "For instance, 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."
Brown's commentary came as part of CBS' revamped coverage amid the ongoing Ray Rice domestic violence scandal. Hours before the start of the "Thursday Night Football" broadcast, CBS announced that a segment featuring Rihanna had been removed from the pregame show.
“We thought journalistically and from a tone standpoint, we needed to have the appropriate tone and coverage," CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated about the changes to the pregame show.
Brown's pointed call to action seems to have been just what CBS was looking for.