Report: NFL seeks $16.6M from M.I.A. for Super Bowl middle finger

Tuesday March 18th, 2014

Nicki Minaj, Madonna and MIA performed during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images) Nicki Minaj, Madonna and M.I.A. performed during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

The NFL has significantly increased its restitution demands for M.I.A's display of her middle finger during the singer-rapper's Super Bowl XLVI halftime performance in 2012, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The NFL initially sought $1.5 million from M.I.A., claiming breach of her performance contract and the tarnishing of the league's goodwill and reputation. The league is now seeking $15.1 million more, tying the two minutes M.I.A. was on screen to the fees advertisers paid for Super Bowl XLVI air time.

"The claim for restitution lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic," say M.I.A.'s response papers, filed on Friday.

The music superstar tells the 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."

M.I.A.'s attorney, Howard King, argues that the NFL did not activate a five-second delay during his client's performance and knew in advance of previous Super Bowl halftime performances including Michael Jackson grabbing his genitalia while singing "Billie Jean" in 1993 and Prince's use of what King describes as phallic symbols in 2007.

King's latest arbitration filings also question the NFL's alleged tolerance for questionable behavior throughout the league:

the "profane, bawdy, lascivious, demeaning and/or unacceptable behavior by its players, team owners, coaching and management personnel and by performers chosen and endorsed by NFL to perform in its halftime shows."
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