M.I.A. fights with the NFL over Superbowl halftime show middle finger

Super Bowl Football
M.I.A. performs with Madonna and Nicki Minaj during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl XLVI football game between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

It’s been over a year since M.I.A. graced America’s television screens for the 2012 Superbowl halftime show alongside Madonna and Nicki Minaj.

During Madonna’s performance of  “Give Me All Your Luvin’ ” – a collaborative song with M.I.A. and Minaj – the Sri Lankan rapper didn’t leave her notorious badass attitude at the door. When the camera closed up to M.I.A. during the end of her part, the musician unapologetically flipped the middle finger as she mouthed “I don’t give a sh*t.”

Sure, Maya was totally uncomfortable in that scenario – an event like the Superbowl, performing a sugary-pop song like that, goes against everything she preaches in her music. But unfortunately she really pissed off not NBC, not the FCC, but the NFL. According to the Hollywood Reporter, in the original signed contract, M.I.A. agreed to uphold the wholesome values of the NFL brand, which includes not flipping the bird.

One month after the performance, the league initiated legal proceedings against the English-Sri Lankan rapper-singer. In a March 13, 2012, filing at the American Arbitration Association, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the league demanded $1.5 million from M.I.A. for allegedly breaching her performance contract and tarnishing its goodwill and reputation.

Since then, M.I.A. has been fighting a secret war with the NFL, with the help of her lawyer Howard King. "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," King said.

King goes on to say, “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.”

You can re-watch the performance here.