How M.I.A. gave the NFL the middle finger
(Credit: Coup d'Oreille)

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How M.I.A. gave the NFL the middle finger

There aren’t many stars who have a more assured and self-determined stance on their worth than M.I.A. One of the fiercest opponents of oppression in hip-hop, M.I.A. has always stood up for her rights and refused to back down when faced with an aggressor. It was exactly the kind of opponent she faced when the NFL abused her rights.

During M.I.A.’s appearance with Madonna at the Super Bowl in 2012, she nonchalantly decided to flick her middle finger during the performance. Surely that didn’t land her in hot water, right?

Out of the 111.3 million viewers of the event, 222 decided to log a complaint to the NFL for the incident. Therefore, the federation saw it as fair game to sue M.I.A. for $1.5 million, claiming that it tarnished the organisation’s “goodwill and reputation”. Then, in 2014, they increased to claim to a staggering $15 million, and later that year, the singer agreed to sign, but the figure remains unknown.

“I was at Roc Nation at the time and Jay-Z was managing me,” she told Huck in 2018. “The lawsuit was so ridiculous, it proposed that they would keep one hundred percent of my earnings for the rest of my life if I ever earned more than $2 million (£1.4m).

“Jay-Z was like, ‘You should sign that shit,’ and I was like, ‘No,’” she continued. “A middle finger, it’s like get a fucking grip. People were like, ‘Oh you’re lucky you’re not in jail, give up all your profit, be this slave for the rest of your life.’”