NFL suing M.I.A. over Super Bowl performance

Gregory Shamus

The league is continuing to seek damages over an obscene gesture made during halftime of Super Bowl XLVI.

During the halftime performance of Super XLVI, rapper-singer M.I.A made a Janet Jackson-esque attention grab by raising her middle finger and flipping off a television audience of nearly 167 million. The league filed legal proceedings against M.I.A. a month later, but the story eventually faded out of the limelight and the 2012 incident was presumed over.

As it turns out, it's not. As an exclusive story from The Hollywood Reporter reveals, the NFL has quietly continued its legal actions against the English-Sri Lankan performer. Last week, league lawyers continued their efforts to have her held liable for her actions on summary judgment before moving for a trial for damages.

According to a filing uncovered by The Hollywood Reporter, the NFL is seeking $1.5 million in damages for her "obscene" gesture, an act the league states violated the performance contract.

M.I.A, born Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, reportedly planned on keeping the legal battle quiet, but according to her lawyer, Howard King, now plans on taking a public battle to the country's most powerful professional sports organization.

"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," King explained to The Hollywood Reporter.

The league contends that the offensive gesture was in "flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl," a notion that King rejected as hypocritical:

Of course, the NFL's claimed reputation for wholesomeness is hilarious 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.

Following the halftime performance, Eli Manning would lead the New York Giants to a dramatic 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots.

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