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NFL Wants M.I.A. to Pay $16.6 Million for That Middle-Finger Super Bowl Salute

MIA Finger Super Bowl
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Controversial rapper M.I.A. has revealed that the NFL is trying to shake her down for $16.6 million as a result of her one-finger salute, in which she flashed her middle finger at the camera (and for all the world to see) while performing as part of Madonna‘s Super Bowl Halftime Performance in 2012.

The NFL was not pleased and neither was Madonna, as was rumored at the time. She later called it “irrelevant.” Still, it’s shaping up to be quite an expensive gesture.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the league has spent two years trying to get M.I.A. to pony up $1.5 million, since her gesture was a “flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl.”

The NFL also claims that the singer breached a pre-show agreement which states that the performers will maintain the league’s “reputation for wholesomeness.”

While there are plenty of people who could argue with that last statement, the situation in question is M.I.A. and her finger-giving antics. The reason the league is suing for another $15.1 million additional dollars is because it views the money as “restitution” based on the value of the exposure M.I.A. received thanks to her appearance.

Essentially, the money the NFL wants is equated to what an advertiser would have paid for that same time. The saying goes that time is money, and that is especially true at the Super Bowl. The NFL believes M.I.A. got time and attention for free, whereas an advertiser would have had to pay dearly for it.

Lawyers for M.I.A., who split with Roc Nation management at the top of the year, have battled, saying, “The claim for restitution lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic.” They also claim that “the continued pursuit of this proceeding is transparently an exercise by NFL intended solely to bully and make an example of Respondents for daring to challenge NFL.”

M.I.A. has also pointed to the lack of wholesomeness in other halftime shows, including that of Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna, the very person who invited M.I.A. to be a part of her halftime event. She also addresses the other issues surrounding the NFL, including bullying and physical injury. It’s fascinating stuff, and she is daring to take on the big boys of the NFL.

M.I.A. also tweeted documents she received.

This is a dogfight.

M.I.A. then issued a hilarious tweet to Madonna, which appears to have been deleted. She asked to borrow $16 million.

It’s David vs. Goliath. Stay tuned.

Next: Relive Madonna's Performance at the Super Bowl

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