M. I. A.’s Lawyer Flips Off NFL, Rips “Claimed Reputation for Wholesomeness,” Is Mostly Right.

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

Last week I said that for purely financial reasons, Disney needs your kids to play football.   Disney (parent of ESPN) needs to keep ESPN from executing journalistic excellence in the wake of the NFL’s CTE scandal and the mounting evidence that feeder systems from Pop Warner to the NCAA are playing with very real fire.

This week, we learned that recording artist M.I.A. is being sued by the NFL for breaching a good faith agreement about the respectability level of her performance alongside Madonna at last year’s Super Bowl.   M.I.A’s lawyer, Howard King, had this to say (which ESPN, to their credit, delighted in sharing):

“Of course, the NFL’s claimed reputation for wholesomeness is hilarious in light of the weekly felonies committed by its stars, the bounties placed by coaches on opposing players, the homophobic and racist comments uttered by its players, the complete disregard for the health of players and the premature deaths that have resulted from same, and the raping of public entities ready to sacrifice public funds to attract teams.”

Okay.  It’s not fair, responsible, or honest to say there are weekly felonies committed by its stars.  But the other criticisms, which are criticisms of league honchos and of the way the league does business, are right on.
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2 comments

  1. While his criticism might be accurate, the fact of the matter is that M.I.A. signed a contract indicating she would avoid offensive and lewd acts, which including flipping off America. She couldn’t keep her side of the bargain, so she is being sued. Mr. King should have argued his case before he had his client sign the contract.

    1. I don’t think I disagree. But we also come to the question of the role of the artist (any artist, or, for that matter, any person) in bringing massive hypocrisy to light (even in the very act of hypocrisy). This is easier for artists to get away with in some senses because we’ve come to see subversion as part of their vocation. But we all have a subversive call, I think.

      So, I don’t disagree: she didn’t act in good faith according to the terms of her contract. Nor would I say that flipping off the audience was some kind of inspired performance art. But it has created the stage for Mr. King’s performance art, and I’m enjoying that.

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