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MIA’s long-running middle finger dispute with NFL is over

By | Published on Wednesday 27 August 2014


MIA’s long-running dispute with Super Bowl owner the National Football League is at an end, with an undisclosed settlement having been reached.

As previously reported, MIA raised her middle finger during a guest spot in Madonna’s half-time performance at the 2012 edition of the Super Bowl. The sporting body claimed that, by raising her finger, MIA breached a contractual commitment to ensure her performance didn’t negatively impact on the “tremendous public respect and reputation” enjoyed by American football.

Even though the finger moment led to only a smattering of formal complaints from the Super Bowl’s 111.3 million viewers, the NFL pushed for compensation from the rapper through a process of arbitration, at one point asking for $16.6 million in damages. As the dispute rumbled on, MIA went public about it all, questioning the NFL’s argument that her finger raising had damaged American football’s otherwise untarnished reputation.

Her lawyer Howard King embellished on that point at the time, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “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”.

Whether going public about the dispute while arbitration continued behind closed doors helped MIA’s case isn’t known. Though the NFL did risk further damaging the reputation it was seeking to protect by pushing too hard for mega-damages. Especially given MIA’s side kept pointing out that if the incident had been so bad, media regulator the FCC would surely have intervened. Which it did not.

Either way, a settlement has now been reached, King has now confirmed to ESPN. Terms will remain private, though so far there has been no apology from MIA, which was one of the things the NFL was pushing for.