So throughout the whole Grammy telecast, there was a side drama playing out: shortly before the broadcast started, both Chris Brown and his girlfriend, Rihanna, pulled out of the show following word that Brown had allegedly assaulted a female Saturday night. As the show went on and on and on,  news broke that the girl in question was Rihanna. Then, while the show was on, Brown surrendered to police.

What does this mean for Brown, who, at 19, has already established himself as a pop artist in the tradition of Michael Jackson? He's a triple-threat: he sings, dances, acts... and, until this incident, was known as one of the nicest, hardest working guys in show business. He was named Billboard's top artist of 2008. Plus, he's seen as a role model and had been a great one, up to this point.

We don't know enough yet to know how this will affect Brown or even if the reports are true: while reports suggest that Rihanna's injuries were "visible," that could be anything from a scratch to something much more severe--not that any kind of domestic violence should ever be condoned by anyone.

If this turns out that it was a minor scrape, Brown's reputation is going to be damaged, but should be reparable through the usual  groveling, counseling, public service, etc. If the injuries are more than surface, it could be a career killer for Brown since his squeaky clean image will, deservedly so, be damaged and his story will always include this incident. Quite frankly, if the injuries are more than surface, taking care of his career is the least of his worries.

UPDATE: Chris Brown has been charged with making "criminal threats," which, according to a LA police officer interviewed on WABC, means he made threats that could happen.  He was not charged with assault.