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NFL wants $16.6m over M.I.A.’s finger gesture

The NFL (National Football League) is currently seeking $16.6 million from the Brit-Sri Lankan singer M.I.A. over flashing her middle finger during her 2012 Super Bowl XLVI half-time performance in Indianapolis, Indiana. Originally NFL attorneys were only asking for $1.5 million during legal arbitration with the songstress last fall.

According to legal documents first obtained by The Hollywood Reporter lawyers for the NFL say that the new figure was arrived at based upon alleged damages M.I.A. inflicted on the organization and the exposure she garnered from the gig.  Specifically, NFL reps crunched the numbers using the amount of television commercials the NFL could theoretically have aired during her approximately two-minute appearance.


M.I.A. (2009)

The 38-year-old “Paper Planes” performer responded to the NFL stating that she owes them nothing for her provocative performance of “Give Me All Your Luvin”.  Alongside “Material Girl” Madonna they entertained an estimated audience of reportedly 167 million television-owning households.  Her response papers, filed Friday, state that the NFL’s claim “lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic.”

M.I.A. told the legal arbitrator that the “continued pursuit of this proceeding is transparently an exercise by the NFL intended solely to bully and make an example of Respondents for daring to challenge NFL.”  In fact, the “Galang” gal’s attorney’s were quick to cite numerous past examples of supposedly profane performances on the part of other halftime performers including the late Michael Jackson’s 1993 crotch-grabbing incident and “Purple Rain” rocker Prince’s 2007 performance in which he sexually stroked his guitar.  Her attorneys even mentioned co-crooner Madonna’s possible use of “underage dancers” during the show.

They stated: “The Show prominently features scenes of very young women dancers (possibly not even of adult age) poised in reclining positions, with their feet and hands and/or shoulders planted on the ground behind them. The women lewdly thrust their elevated pelvic areas in a manner unmistakably evocative of sexual acts (very probably qualifying as ‘indecent’ under the FCC definition), or at the very least, in a manner wholly consistent with the scenes a faire in a strip club.”

The legal documents additionally alluded to the moral and legal improprieties of NFL members.  They also compared this case to the NFL’s newly-proposed 15-yard-penalty for players heard using the word “n*gger” on the field.   Finally, the “Sunshowers” showgirl blames the NBC network which broadcasted Super Bowl XLVI.  She, as well as other online authors point out that the network should be held accountable because they failed to activate “the ‘5-second delay’ system in place for the broadcast.”

Rock journalists are highly skeptical as to how much good the halftime show did for M.I.A.’s career as well.  Statistics show that her 2013 disc, Matangi, actually sold significantly fewer copies than her pre-Super Bowl album2010’s Maya.

(Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.