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Singer M.I.A. in arbitration with NFL over Super Bowl performance

Fans of musicians and football know that there is no bigger stage than the Super Bowl. Artists from around the world have played at this exclusive venue and are often held to strict contracts as well. Such was the case for Sri Lankan singer M.I.A who performed with Madonna at Super Bowl XLVI in February 2012. But a slip of the finger during her performance now has her facing some rather serious legal issues.

Some of our Los Angeles readers, who are also football fans, may remember the performance in which the singer extended her middle finger to the crowd as well as about 167 million TV households, claims the NFL. Initially, the NFL had refused to pay her for breach of contract and demanded that she pay $1.5 million for “tarnishing [the NFL’s] goodwill and reputation.” Now, two years later, the NFL is seeking an additional $15.1 million, which the league claims is the amount of money that would have been paid by advertisers for that same time slot.

But M.I.A. does not appear to be going down without a fight and is contending the NFL’s requests in arbitration, claiming that the NFL’s request for restitution “lacks any basis in law, fact, or logic.” Unfortunately, this will be up to the arbitrator to decide. That’s why it will be important for the singer to present evidence that backs her argument. So far, the singer has pointed out several NFL performances in which sexual gestures were part of the performance but the performers were never fined for their behavior. She claims that her case is being used as an example and that the NFL is bullying her.

It’s unclear when arbitration will be completed or what resolution will be met in the end.

Source: Billboard, “NFL Wants $16.6 Million for M.I.A.'s Super Bowl Bird,” Eriq Gardner, Mar. 18, 2014

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