It's been 18 months since the 2012 Super Bowl and now we're talking about M.I.A's middle finger again. Turns out, even though NBC and the FCC didn't file charges against the English-Sri Lankan songwriter for flipping the bird and mouthing "I don't give a shit," the NFL has been in a secret legal battle with the "Paper Planes" singer ever since, demanding she cough up $1.5 million and apologize publicly. Their argument? Maya Arulpragasam breached her performance contract and tarnished the goodwill and reputation of the NFL.
Are you done laughing yet? Good, let's continue.
The statute of limitations has run out on the FCC and NBC, meaning they can no longer sue M.I.A., but the NFL isn't letting the incident go. So now M.I.A.'s lawyer, Howard King told The Hollywood Reporter they're going public with this lawsuit, explaining how ridiculous the NFL is acting.
"Of course, the NFL's claimed reputation for wholesomeness is hilarious," King tells THR, "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."
What's more, King and M.I.A. are encouraging the general public to submit examples of "...how the actions of the NFL, its stars, coaches, advertisers, broadcasters, team doctors and owners have damaged or destroyed any vestiges of any reputation for wholesomeness ever enjoyed by the NFL. These submissions, which we plan to use to bolster M.I.A's defense, will help balance the playing field, as they very well could eliminate the burden of undertaking a formal survey of the history of unwholesome behavior, can be made to the M.I.A defense team by email to NFL@khpblaw.com."
What kind of unwholesomeness are we talking about here? Well, besides the NFL's bizarre habit of selecting 350-pound steroid-popping gorillas, giving them multiple concussions over four years, and then dumping them with permanent brain damage, there's a lot. In fact, just this week Aldon Smith of the 49ers crashed his car into a tree. He's being charged with a DUI and marijuana possession. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Ready to dive in? OK!
The Dolly Gray Imposter For starters, let's go way, way back. Nobody knows who this dude really was, but he played in the National Football League for both the Green Bay Packers and the St. Louis All-Stars in 1923 under the pseudonym Jack "Dolly" Gray. Claiming he was an end from Princeton, Gray got signed to the All-Stars by Ollie Kraehe, the player-coach and owner.
Too bad Gray played like complete shit. After three games of lackluster performance, Kraehe realized this guy was lying through his teeth. So what did he do? Signed him over to the Packers. Why? He needed the money, of course. But when Gray gave his shitshow all over again, the Packers' first coach, Curly Lambeau, confronted Kraehe about the mess. Kraehe just laughed it off. Apparently, after his first game with the Packers, Gray disappeared on the train and no one ever found out who the weirdo was. It was ethics like these in the early days of the NFL that would continue to plague the organization. Such as...
The Minnesota Vikings Boat Party Scandal Real-life Vikings would rape and pillage your seaside town while tripping balls on amanita muscaria (no, really). The Minnesota Vikings just settled for orgies on Lake Minnetonka. On October 6, 2005 police investigated a call from a woman claiming seven large men had pissed in her yard. Soon, they found a sex party raging on two houseboats that the following Vikings players -- Daunte Culpepper, Fred Smoot, Mewelde Moore, Pat Williams, Bryant McKinnie, Nate Burleson, Ralph Brown, Troy Williamson, Travis Taylor, Kevin Williams, Lance Johnstone, Moe Williams, Ken Irvin, and Willie Offord -- had chartered. They had filled the boats with around 90 people, including some prostitutes they'd flown from Atlanta and Florida.
The attorney for the charter company described the scene thusly: "Masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, woman on man, woman on woman, man on man, toys, double penetration, middle of the floor, middle of the couches, middle of the room." My god! The middle of the couches? Animals!
Fred Smut, er, Smoot was allegedly the ringleader in all this, assisting two of the girls who were going at it Requiem for a Dream-style with a double-headed dildo. After one woman left he continued to "manipulate the dildo" inside the other woman in front of the ship's crew. Later, the cleaning crew reported finding "used condoms, K-Y Jelly, Handi Wipes, wrappers for sex toys" and said "it was just incredible how it was left. Never in the history of this group of people have they ever had anything like this.'" However, an anonymous former player of the Minnesota Vikings claimed that this is not the first time that such an incident had occurred. That leaves a lot to the imagination.
Bad Newz Kennels Dog Fighting Investigation Who can forget Michael Fucking Vick, the prick who was caught running a dog-fighting ring out of his 15-acre property? Over 70 abused dogs were found, most of them pitbull terriers and quite a few suffering from injuries. But Vick didn't just make the dogs fight each other -- he also shot, hung, electrocuted, and drowned them.
Vick's lawyer claimed his client came from a background where dogfighting is acceptable and is used as a proving ground for manliness. What a weak fucking argument that was. Having animals fight against their will doesn't make you some kind of hero. Luckily, Judge Hudson didn't see it that way, saying, "You may have thought this was sporting, but it was very callous and cruel. I hope you understand that now."
I still don't get how drowning a dog is ever "sporting," but whatever.
Let's Not Forget How Culturally Insensitive The NFL Is It would be hard to count the many times the NFL has done something bigoted, but we can outline a few examples. First, the Washington Redskins team name: fuck you, guys.
Then there's how homophobic the NFL is. Besides being an aggressive outlet for machismo leanings, the atmosphere is belligerently anti-gay. Only ten NFL players have ever come out as queer, one after his death. Think there's a reason for that? Maybe like comments from the incredibly articulate Chris Culliver, of the 49ers, who told The Artie Lange Show, "No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do.... Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah...can't be...in the locker room man. Nah."
Keep up the good work, guys.
All Those Fucking Bounties In professional football, a bounty is when a pool of money is underhandedly offered to players who break the rules of the NFL. The most infamous ones were allegedly for injuring opposing players. Bounties made a pretty big splash in the 1989 game between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles that became known as the "Bounty Bowl," and don't forget the bounty scheme organized by players and coaches with the New Orleans Saints, uncovered last year. It had been going on since 2009, the same year the Saints won the Super Bowl. Something tells me there are a lot more aggressive tactics like this going on behind the scenes; these are just instances where the corrupt were caught.
Enough fuckin' said, you cocksuckers.
Conclusion Yeah, I ain't so sure the NFL has ever been the archetype for good behavior and in light of some of the more grievous examples in their history, M.I.A.'s one-second flash of a finger is like a slap is to a suicide bombing.
Now, it should be noted that in almost every instance I've outlined here, the NFL has apologized, punished their players or made the No True Scotsman fallacy. Good for them. I believe in forgiveness and would let the NFL, er, fumble, on these issues. However, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone."
Who cares if the NFL claims they'll donate that money to charity (after some of it finds its way to a slush fund, no doubt) if what they're really advocating is hypocrisy, bullying and censorship? Fuck these guys. It's even more ridiculous when you remember that football is just a silly game, arranged so someone can tell you which brand of piss-flavored beer to drown yourself in
I'm sure I missed a few, so again, email other examples of the NFL being full of it to NFL@khpblaw.com or leave them in the comments.
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Troy Farah likes baseball at troyfarah.com