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MIA comments on NFL dispute

By | Published on Tuesday 24 September 2013


Once MIA’s lawyer went public over his client’s ongoing dispute with the NFL, it was only a matter of time before the lady herself spoke.

As previously reported, it has emerged that the American Football body is still going after the British singer and rapper after she fleetingly raised her middle finger during an appearance at the Superbowl half time show in January 2012. The NFL says MIA breached a contractual commitment to ensure her performance didn’t negatively impact on the “tremendous public respect and reputation” enjoyed by the sport.

Revealing that, even though media-regulators took no action over the finger incident, the NFL has been seeking damages and an apology through arbitration, MIA’s lawyer Howard King told the Hollywood Reporter last week: “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”.

In a video message, in which MIA seems to be commenting on the whole thing to someone by phone, she hones in on other elements of the Madonna performance during which the middle finger lift occurred, wondering why it’s her action that is causing controversy. With transcription courtesy of Pitchfork, she says: “The NFL thing is completely ridiculous. It’s been making me laugh for a while, but now it’s so boring I don’t even laugh anymore”.

She goes on: “So the precise moment in question, and you can actually freeze-frame this, as many media outlets have, the frame you’re looking for has my middle finger in the foreground, and the larger picture where it zooms out is a row of ten, fifteen cheerleaders, young black females that Madonna got from a local high school in Indianapolis, and they were all under sixteen. If you look at them, they’re all wearing cheerleader outfits, hips thrusted in the air, legs wide open, in this very sexually provocative position”.

She adds: “So, now, they’re scapegoating me into figuring out the goalposts on what is offensive in America. Like, is my finger offensive, or is the underage black girl with her legs wide open more offensive to the family audience? That’s basically what it comes down to. It’s a massive waste of time, a massive waste of money, it’s a massive display of powerful corporation dick-shaking. They want me on my knees and to say sorry so they can slap me on my wrist. Basically, so they can say it’s OK for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female than to display female empowerment through being punk rock. That is what it boils down to, and I’m being sued for it”.

NFL is yet to comment. It remains to be seen if the now public war of words persuades the football body’s chiefs that this is a PR battle not worth fighting, or whether it just makes them more adamant this dispute should go fully legal.