Remember Super Bowl XLVI? Yeah, the one where Eli beat Brady for his second Super Bowl Championship. Remember the halftime performance? Me neither. Well, that was until I saw that the NFL is apparently suing rapper/singer M.I.A for over $15 million for flipping the bird during the halftime show performance when she joined Madonna on stage. The what now?
It would be tough to find anything more ridiculous than the NFL suing a performer for “restitution” in “tarnishing their image” for a mildly profane gesture during a halftime performance over two years ago. It’s along the lines of suing McDonald’s because your coffee was too hot or suing your parents to get them to pay for your college education kind of ridiculous. The big difference here is the complainant isn’t some money-hungry attention-starved person with an overambitious lawyer; it’s a money-hungry billion-dollar company.
Possibly the most ridiculous aspect of this lawsuit is the fact that the NFL seems to be still pursuing it two years later, even after having never been fined or faced sanctions by the FCC for the show. When M.I.A. flipped the bird during the performance of “Give Me All Your Luvin” you could actually miss it if you’re not looking closely. The NFL alleges in their suit that they are owed $1.5 million for M.I.A. breaching her performance contract and $15.1 million more in restitution for the value of the public exposure she received by appearing on the show. Funny thing is, two years later and I couldn’t pick M.I.A. out of a lineup if I needed to or identify any of her songs if they were playing nonstop. Not sure what that means for the value of the public exposure she received but I had no idea who the hell she was 2 years ago while watching the train wreck that was Madonna’s halftime performance and I still don’t.
I think I have a better chance suing the NFL for forcing me to watch these horrible halftime performances like Madonna, Beyoncé and the Black Eyed Peas than they do of actually winning this farce of a legal action.
M.I.A.’s lawyer has responded with arbitration papers by highlighting the NFL’s decision to allow other performances in their halftime shows which have had elements one might consider profane or lewd and they’ve done nothing against those artists. She tries to take down Prince for his 2007 Super Bowl halftime performance in which he was behind a big sheet of fabric and caressed the neck of his guitar “as if stroking an erect oversized phallus in a manner reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix.” They claim the NFL knew ahead of time of Prince’s performance through pre-game rehearsals and did nothing to prevent it. While I agree with M.I.A. and her lawyer for attacking the NFL just on the absurdity of this lawsuit I don’t see why they have to try and take down Prince in the meantime. That show was freaking fabulous. The man sang Purple Rain in the friggin rain. Enough said.
For a league whose owners are arrested for drunk driving with illegal prescriptions and players are routinely arrested for domestic violence I wonder where exactly the wholesome image they’re alleging M.I.A. tarnished is. If anyone was offended by that performance, other than the lack of musical quality to it, they’ve long since gotten over it so why on earth is the NFL making themselves look like a bunch of jerks by pursuing this legal action for money they don’t even need?