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M.I.A., NFL Continue Battle Over 2012 Super Bowl Middle Finger

Image: M.I.A., NFL Continue Battle Over 2012 Super Bowl Middle Finger

By Alexandra Ward   |   Friday, 20 Sep 2013 11:15 AM

The fallout from the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show, where British-Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A. gave the camera the middle finger, is still raging on as the NFL continues to seek $1.5 million in damages for the star's "offensive gesture."

M.I.A., whose real name is Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, raised her finger and mouthed "I don't give a s—" while performing on stage during Madonna's set at Super Bowl XLVI. Her antics were aired live on NBC to some 167 million TV viewers.

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Despite the fact that both NBC and the Federal Communications Commission chose not to pursue any disciplinary action, NFL lawyers filed a claim with the American Arbitration Association just a month later. The filing, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, accused M.I.A. of breaching her performance contract in a "flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl."

According to the contract, M.I.A. was to "acknowledge the great value of the goodwill associated with the NFL and the tremendous public respect and reputation for wholesomeness enjoyed by the NFL" and also "ensure that all elements of [her] Performance, including without limitation [her] wardrobe, shall be consistent with such goodwill and reputation."

Now, nearly 20 months later, the NFL is still demanding its money. Last week, the league reportedly pushed again to have M.I.A. held liable on summary judgment before moving to a trial, according to The Reporter.

Howard King, M.I.A.'s lawyer, called the NFL's argument "ridiculous."

"The NFL's claimed reputation for wholesomeness is hilarious, in light of the weekly felonies committed by its stars, the bounties placed by coaches on opposing players, the homophobic and racist comments uttered by its players, the complete disregard for the health of players, and the premature deaths that have resulted from same, and the raping of public entities ready to sacrifice public funds to attract teams," he told The Reporter.

M.I.A. is best know for her song "Paper Planes," and many of her tracks often contain strong political and social statements.

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