As The Hollywood Reporter revealed last September, the NFL has been secretly pursuing M.I.A. in arbitration in the aftermath of Super Bowl XLVI on Feb. 5, 2012. During the event, watched by nearly 167 million TV households, the Sri Lankan singer-rapper extended her middle finger during a performance of "Give Me All Your Luvin' "
M.I.A. wasn't paid for the event as is the custom of the league. But nevertheless, the NFL spent the first two years of arbitration demanding $1.5 million for allegedly breaching her performance contract and tarnishing its goodwill and reputation.
Now the NFL has added an additional claim, seeking $15.1 million more in "restitution" as the alleged value of public exposure she received by appearing for an approximately two minute segment duringMadonna's performance. The figure is based on what advertisers would have paid for ads during this time. "The claim for restitution lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic," say M.I.A.'s response papers, filed on Friday.
The music superstar tells the arbitrator that the "continued pursuit of this proceeding is transparently an exercise by the NFL intended solely to bully and make an example of Respondents for daring to challenge NFL."
As we previously reported, Howard King, the attorney for M.I.A., has been attempting to undercut the NFL's argument that its reputation has been damaged by soliciting information from the public on what he says is the NFL's lack of wholesomeness. He has even set up an e-mail address -- NFL@khpblaw.com -- intended to "balance the playing field."
The latest arbitration papers for M.I.A. go into the "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."