NFL Wants $1.5 Million From M.I.A.

Sports league takes legal action against "Paper Planes" rapper.

Posted: 09/20/2013 10:17 AM EDT
M.I.A.

The NFL wants M.I.A. to pay up for flipping the bird and mouthing "I don't give a s--t" during the Super Bowl XLVI halftime set, headlined by Madonna and also featuring Nicki Minaj.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the league began legal proceedings against the British recording artist one month after the performance. Last March, the NFL filed paperwork with the American Arbitration Association demanding the Grammy nominated singer/rapper hand over $1.5 million for the "offensive gesture" which allegedly breached her performance contract and damaged its reputation. 

M.I.A., born Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, has every intention of fighting back, her lawyer promised. A source close to the star said the hand motion — which even upset Madonna — wasn't intentional, claiming she "got caught up in the moment."

Initially seeking to settle the discrepancy privately, the 38-year-old mother has recently changed her game plan. "She is going 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," attorney Howard King said.  

King believes the league has more important issues to worry about, mainly regarding some of its players. "Of course, the NFL's claimed reputation for wholesomeness is hilarious," he said counting  the "weekly felonies committed by its stars" and "the homophobic and racist comments uttered by its players" among the issues he feels should be holding the focus.

He's encouraging the public to email his firm "their examples of how the actions of the NFL, its stars, coaches, advertisers, broadcasters, team doctors and owners have damaged or destroyed any vestiges of any reputation for wholesomeness ever enjoyed by the NFL."

Some 167 million people tuned in for the Feb. 2012 battle between the New York Giants and New England Patriots. 

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 (Photo: Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup)

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