The NFL Has Fined M.I.A. For $16.6 Million — What Gives?

rexusa_1257002tPhoto: Joseph Kerlakian/REX USA.
Remember that crazy moment during the 2012 Super Bowl halftime show, when M.I.A. flashed her middle finger for a split second in front of millions of viewers? Yeah, we really don't, either. But, the NFL certainly hasn’t forgotten when the British rapper flipped the bird at the audience, while performing alongside Nicki Minaj and Madonna. The organization is currently in a battle with M.I.A. to fine her for the act — to the tune of $16.6 million, according to Dazed. The staggering figure is derived from what the NFL would have made from advertisers during her performance.
And, M.I.A. is upset — scratch that, she's pissed. She’s taken to Twitter to air her frustration, posting photos of the NFL paperwork documenting the crazy fines. Her main argument is that the entire 2012 Super Bowl broadcast only garnered 222 complaints, while Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” alone received 542,000 complaints after the 2004 Super Bowl. In comparison, CBS was charged a mere $550,000 by the FCC for Jackson’s incident, and the fine was later thrown out in court, according to The Huffington Post.
M.I.A’s other point is that pro football players often shout racial slurs that make it onto the broadcast. The NFL is currently debating a 15-yard penalty for players who say the N-word — a much gentler punishment than a multimillion dollar fine.

In our opinion, the NFL is being unfair in its punishment of M.I.A. Yes, flashing her middle finger was a bad idea. But, why go after her so aggressively when a) the public didn't seem to care, and b) NFL players aren't held to the same scrutiny? For now, keep an eye on M.I.A.'s Twitter feed for the play-by-play.

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