Two years after M.I.A’s brief, controversial appearance in Madonna's halftime show at Super Bowl XLVI, the NFL sought arbitration to the tune of $1.5 million. The league claimed the rapper-singer breached her contract when she gave the middle finger during her performance, which "tarnished" the NFL's "reputation."
The NFL now demands an additional $15.1 million–for a total of $16.6 million–in restitution for the exposure the singer received. In short, they're asking her for the same amount of money advertisers would pay for the air time.
M.I.A.'s legal response, filed Friday, argues the NFL has done its fair share to damage its own reputation, citing “profane, bawdy, lascivious, demeaning and/or unacceptable behavior by its players, team owners, coaching and management personnel and by performers chosen and endorsed by NFL to perform in its halftime shows.”
The documents also reference contentious Super Bowl halftime shows of the past, including Michael Jackson’s 1993 show, where the King of Pop famously grabbed his crotch, and Prince’s 2007 set, where he stroked the neck of his guitar, symbolic of an erect phallus. It doesn't end there: the papers go on to mention the lewd behaviors of athletes themselves, contrasting the massive monetary demand to a 15-yard penalty for saying the "N-word."
You can read the entire document here.