It was a dramatic moment on live TV as the Baltimore Ravens were cheered by their fans just four days after the Ray Rice elevator attack video that shocked the nation.
In a sign of just how sensitive the scandal is, CBS pulled an opening song by Rihanna, herself a victim of domestic violence at the hands of singer Chris Brown.
Host James Brown made an impassioned plea for an end to domestic violence.
He said, "There has been, appropriately so, intense and widespread outrage following the release of video showing what happened inside the elevator at the casino. Wouldn't it be productive to if this collective outrage, as my colleagues have said, could be channeled to truly hear and address the long suffering cries for help from so many women?"
But in a surprising show of support for the embattled Rice, some female fans continued to wear his jersey. A group of women displayed a banner reading: "Forgive."
One fan on the Today show said, "She struck him first and any woman that can hit a man can be hit back."
The Ravens beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, 26-6. Overnight ratings were huge. CBS had its strongest Thursday night Primetime ratings since 2006.
On the same night that Rihanna was pulled from the telecast, Chris Brown appeared on MTV saying this to Ray Rice, "I made my mistakes too, but it is all about how you push forward and control yourself."
Actress Robin Givens also spoke out about the Rice video to Maria Shriver on the Today show on Friday. She suffered abuse by her ex-husband, former boxing champion Mike Tyson.
Givens says the Rice video forces everyone to see the horror of domestic violence, saying, “It is appalling. It is heart wrenching. It is shocking. We get to see in many respects, what goes on behind close doors. We can't pretend that it is not happening."