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Commentary: MIA justly calls NFL fine on Super Bowl performance ‘ridiculous’

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Nikki Minaj (from left), Madonna and MIA perform at the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show. MIA has been fined $1.5 million by the NFL for this performance, in which she flipped off the camera. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Nicki Minaj (left), Madonna and MIA perform at the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show. MIA has been fined $1.5 million by the NFL for this performance, in which she flipped off the camera.
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Bad girl MIA’s reign might get crumpled like a paper plane.

The NFL and the British rapper, who’s real name is Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, have been at war over her performance with Madonna at the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show, in which she flipped her middle finger at the camera. The NFL, apparently the clear, shining beacon of family values, has fired back with a $1.5 million fine, saying not only did her show breach her performance contract, but it was also a “flagrant disregard for the values that form the cornerstone of the NFL brand and the Super Bowl,” the NFL’s legal filing said.

The lawsuit, which has been pretty quiet since the incident, recently bubbled up into the public eye when MIA posted a video Monday of an interview in which she called the NFL’s actions “completely ridiculous.”

And it does seem ridiculous, and yet it isn’t the most laughable thing the NFL has done.

“They want me on my knees, to say sorry so they can slap me on my wrist, and basically say it’s okay for me to promote being sexually exploited as a female, but then to display female empowerment through being punk rock,” MIA said in the video.

After reflecting over what is more offensive than MIA’s middle finger (and chuckling over the NFL thinking it has a “wholesome” reputation to uphold), here are some things that are worse:

-Michael Vick, playing for the Atlanta Flacons, flipped the bird toward fans in 2006 after a 31-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints. This was one of NFL’s players. One of its people. His fine: $10,000 with a suggested $10,000 charity donation.

-As MIA pointed out, the cheerleaders, who looked to be under 16 years old and were backing up Madonna, were more wild than her finger by far. Come on NFL, gyrating cheerleaders cannot possibly uphold your “family-friendly” values as well. Where are their fines?

-New York Jets linebacker, Bart Scott, was fined only $10,000 for flipping off reporters in the locker room this year.

-The Combine question that gained a lot of attention: “Do you like girls?” Colorado tight end, Nick Kasa, was asked this question at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, where NFL hopefuls showcase their physical abilities for coaches and scouts. The question seems much more relevant than his 40-yard dash time or what he can bench.

-Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show cost CBS a hefty $550,000 fine from the Federal Communications Commission. Wait, no, the Supreme Court relieved CBS of having to pay that fine. The woman’s breasts were exposed on national television, and the NFL is trying to claim that MIA’s middle finger is worse and worth more than double the fine that was slapped on CBS.

-Consider the Bud Light classroom commercial with Carlos Mencia that aired during the 2007 Super Bowl. Know a social or racial stereotype? Odds are it made it into this commercial, which then made its way into a coveted advertising slot. The commercial showed Mencia teaching a classroom of men how to ask for a Bud Light depending on which region of the country they are in, making sure his “students” adhered to the stereotypical norms of the area.

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