It was over a year and a half ago that M.I.A. mouthed the line “I don’t gave a shit” and gave the finger to the crowd at Super Bowl XLVI, but the singer and the National Football League are still entrenched in a hefty legal battle over the supposed obscenity. According to an exclusive report by THR, the league demanded $1.5 million from M.I.A. for allegedly “breaching her performance contract and tarnishing its goodwill and reputation.” The demand went ignored since it was filed in March of 2012, but the exclusive report suggests that NFL officials may have decided to take up the issue once again, a move that M.I.A.’s lawyer Howard King says will make things get even uglier.
”[M.I.A.] is going to go public with an explanation of how ridiculous it was for the NFL and its fans to devote such furor to this incident,” King told THR.
The NFL has made a concerted effort over the past decade or so to make its halftime show more family friendly following the public relations nightmare that resulted in Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. Prior to the 2004 controversy, which resulted in public outcry, numerous network fines and an overhaul of the FCC’s censorship policy, the halftime show had become a major spectacle for showing the industry’s biggest names on arguably the world’s brightest stage. But the NFL quickly swept this tradition under the rug and replaced its halftime show with safer, old guard performances from universally palatable acts like Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and The Who in the years to come. The 2012 performance, in this regard, was a major switch-up that once again produced a major headache for the league.
“Of course,” King added, “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.”
King also added that the NFL’s demands for damages probably won’t hold up anyway, since M.I.A.’s performance agreement with the NFL could fall within a statute of limitations clause. Her lawyer is also asking fans to submit “examples of how the actions of the NFL, its stars, coaches, advertisers, broadcasters, team doctors and owners have damaged or destroyed any vestiges of any reputation for wholesomeness.” To escape the lawyer jargon—he needs the public’s help to bolster his ‘kettle calling the pot black’ defense.