It was pretty goddamn ridiculous—for reasons explained here and here—when the NFL decided that it was going to sue M.I.A. for flipping the bird during her Super Bowl halftime performance, but according to new documents obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, the league's suit against M.I.A. has now gone from silly to batshit crazy.
According to THR, the NFL has added an additional "restitution" claim to its lawsuit, and they are asking for $15.1 million:
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.
It's hard to figure out what the NFL's angle is. The league certainly doesn't need M.I.A.'s money bad enough to go after it with a ridiculous lawsuit, and nobody under the age of 76 was actually offended by M.I.A.'s bird-flipping. This lawsuit is weird and wrongheaded and only serves to make the NFL look bad.
M.I.A.'s attorney submitted an official response to the arbitrator that is hearing the case, and it is scathing. The whole thing is worth a read, mostly for passages like this one, meant to demonstrate that the Super Bowl halftime show is no stranger to lewd activity:
As another example, Prince appeared in the 2007 Superbowl Halftime Show. During part of his performance, he was illuminated against the backdrop of a billowing sheet of fabric to project a huge shadow of himself. His oversized shadow was shown caressing the neck of his stylized trademark guitar (shaped like his personal symbol signifying "the performer formerly known as Prince"), as if stroking an erect oversized phallus in a manner reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix performances where he fondled his guitar's neck. Discovery is expected to confirm that NFL knew in advance exactly what would be presented, from pre-game rehearsal and from the stage set configuration.
In Roger Goodell's world, stroking a guitar like it's a big ol' dick is A-OK, but flipping the bird is an offense worthy of a $15.1 million fine. Roger Goodell's world sucks.