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

Andy Lyons

The NFL has pinned an additional $15.1 million on to their lawsuit against Sri Lankan singer-rapper M.I.A. for giving the middle finger during the Super Bowl halftime show.

It has been more than two years since M.I.A. gave a camera the middle finger during Madonna's Super Bowl halftime show, but the NFL has upped their ongoing lawsuit against the singer-rapper from $1.5 million to $16.6 million, according to Eriq Gardner of The Hollywood Reporter.

During a performance of "Give Me All Your Luvin'" at halftime of Super Bowl XLVI in February 2012, M.I.A. made the gesture at a camera. While she was unpaid for the performance, the NFL initially sought $1.5 million for "breaching her performance contract and tarnishing its goodwill and reputation." An additional fee of $15.1 million was added as restitution for the estimated value of the public exposure she received from her appearance.

That claim has been attacked by Howard King, the attorney for M.I.A., who has cited multiple halftime shows in the past as a double standard by the NFL. Among the examples were the halftime shows of Michael Jackson in 1993 and Prince in 2007.

At Super Bowl XXVIII, Jackson did his trademark crotch grab, or "genitalia adjustments" as King wrote in arbitration papers, during a performance of "Billie Jean." In Prince's 2007 performance, a large illuminated shadow of the performer was shown as held the neck of his guitar "as if stroking an erect oversized phallus," as described by King.

According to the attorney, the NFL was aware that both would perform exactly as they did, as pre-game rehearsals confirmed as much. He also mentioned a proposed 15-yard penalty for use of the N-word as a dichotomy of the NFL's standards.

The full complaints of M.I.A. and King can be found here in arbitration papers filed last week.

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