If you take away all of the on-field violence and off-the-field scandal that dominates the headlines on a weekly basis, the National Football League really is a pretty family-friendly organization.
So it only makes sense that an upstanding venture like the NFL would be suing a recording artist for $1.5 million over a middle finger she flashed on TV 18 months ago, on the basis that it showed “flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the NFL filed a $1.5 million suit against M.I.A. on March 13, 2012, about a month after she infamously flipped the bird during her halftime performance at Super Bowl XLVI:
(WARNING: Video shows the finger in question):
According to the filing, the Sri Lankan rapper breached her contract and tarnished the NFL’s reputation with her vulgar act.
Now I know what you’re saying: “March 2012? That’s a long time ago.” And you make a fair point. But the reason this is just making the rounds now is because M.I.A.’s lawyer has finally gone public with the news in an effort to garner public support in favor of his client.
"She 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, while ignoring the genocide occurring in her home country and several other countries, topics she frequently speaks to," her attorney, Howard King, told THR.
King also said he’s decided to not let the lawsuit live in secrecy because he wants to highlight the NFL’s hypocrisy in filing the suit in the first place.
"Of course, the NFL’s claimed reputation for wholesomeness is hilarious," King told the site, "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."
According to THR, M.I.A.’s contract stated that she "acknowledge the great value of the goodwill associated with the NFL and the tremendous public respect and reputation for wholesomeness enjoyed by the NFL."
I’ll stop there, but King would like to kindly ask you to keep on going.
"We encourage people to submit their 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 ever enjoyed by the NFL,” the attorney told THR.
“These submissions, which we plan to use to bolster M.I.A’s defense, will help balance the playing field, as they very well could eliminate the burden of undertaking a formal survey of the history of unwholesome behavior."
The attorney says submissions can be made to the M.I.A defense team via email to NFL@khpblaw.com.
I can’t say for sure whether M.I.A. and her middle finger will get off scot-free in the courtroom, but she’s almost sure to claim victory in the court of public opinion as her case with the NFL drags on.