Super Bowl halftime shows are generally free of any sort of controversy in the wake of the Janet Jackson mess a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen some moments that the NFL hasn’t been happy about. The league got really hot and bothered when British rapper and DJ M.I.A. flashed the middle finger at the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show a few years ago.
The backlash from the league was immediate, and all of a sudden a lawsuit was filed by the NFL that demanded the rapper bay $1.5 million for daring to break their rules.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the NFL is so hot for M.I.A. some years later, they’re after her for $16.6 million in total.
The figure is based on what advertisers would have paid for ads during this time. “The claim for restitution lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic,” say M.I.A.’s response papers, filed on Friday.
To be honest, the matter is a dead issue as no one would even remember M.I.A.’s middle finger if the NFL didn’t keep bringing it up. It’s a league that doesn’t like to be pushed, and it’s clear that when you push it, they push back and you don’t care, they’re going to come after you hard until you do care.
It’s a ridiculous amount that will never be paid, but it’s a pretty desperate fit of chest beating on the NFL’s part to go after a 39-year old foreign musician over a matter no one but the NFL really cares about anymore.