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 during Madonna'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."
What's more, the responsibility of broadcaster NBC could be investigated as the arbitration continues forward.
"NFL, and NBC, failed to exercise ordinary care in the conduct of the Halftime show by not activating the '5 second delay' system in place for the broadcast," says M.I.A.'s papers. "Any alleged fault or liability of Respondents should be diminished by NBC's dereliction. Discovery has not been taken yet to determine whether contractually NBC owed a duty to NFL to properly operate the delay system. Very likely that is indeed the case."