When the NFL sued M.I.A. over the obscene gesture she flashed during her 2012 Super Bowl performance with Madonna, they had some pretty “ridiculous” demands, according to an interview the Sri Lankan rapper gave to Huck magazine revolving around a Sundance documentary about her life. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2014 but according to M.I.A., it could have been much worse if she’d listened to the advice of Jay-Z.
“If you’re talking about racism and sexism, that moment in my life showed the cracks in everyone I knew,” she claims. “I was at Roc Nation at the time and Jay-Z was managing me. The lawsuit was so ridiculous, it proposed that they would keep one hundred percent of my earnings for the rest of my life if I ever earned more than $2 million dollars. Jay-Z was, like, ‘You should sign that shit’ and I was, like, ‘No.’”
While it’s hard to believe a savvy businessman (or business, man, if you will) like Jay-Z would ever agree to such outrageous terms, the NFL was still one of the most profitable entertainment venues at the time and I wouldn’t put it past Roger Goodell to throw out some over-the-top numbers like that. Estimates at the time speculated that the NFL sought up to $16 million in damages, which is more than a lot for a quick middle finger. The FCC probably couldn’t even fine the NFL all that much. Given M.I.A’s tendency talk bluntly and make wild claims herself, it may be best to take her words with a grain of salt, though. Jay-Z and the NFL have yet to respond.