It was probably lost in the shuffle of Madonna’s performance at Super Bowl XLVI in 2012, but female rap artist and singer M.I.A. apparently ticked off the NFL by flipping everyone the bird during the halftime show.
The NFL and M.I.A., aka Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, have been doing battle in court as the league is suing M.I.A. for $1.5 million, citing breach of contract.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the NFL is going after M.I.A. because of the obscene gesture. She fired back, telling the Reporter: “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.”
Her lawyer, Howard King, said M.I.A. was looking to settle things quietly. But when the NFL persisted in going after her, she decided to fight back publicly.
“We encourage people to submit their 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,” King said.
If that doesn’t sound like a declaration of war, what does?
■ POOL BAN — The Pittsburgh Steelers are off to a tough 0-2 start. Things are so dire that a players-only meeting was called Wednesday.
Nothing new there. Teams that start slow sometimes gather to regroup. But the Steelers’ players apparently decided their play on the field is directly related to playing pool and ping pong in the locker room.
So the veterans decided that only players with four years’ experience can play ping pong or pool at the practice facility during the week. The young guys? Go play with your Xboxes and PlayStations. You’re too young to handle the pool table.
Yeah, that will turn the season around. But watch — if the Steelers beat Chicago on Sunday, the other 31 NFL teams will impose their own ping pong ban. After all, is there a league in which more copycat shenanigans take place than in the NFL?
■ NHL’S ‘TUCK’ RULE — Wayne Gretzky left a lot to the sport of hockey, including a fashion statement of tucking his jersey inside his pants.
But Gretzky is long gone from his playing days, and the NHL has decided to penalize those who try to copy The Great One. The NHL is assessing a warning, then a two-minute penalty, to those who don’t comply with keeping their jersey over their pants.
Carolina’s Alex Semin was the first to feel the refs’ wrath, drawing a delay-of-game penalty after his jersey was partially tucked during Wednesday’s preseason game with Columbus.
According to Kris King, NHL vice president of hockey operations, the rule, which states the top padding of the pant cannot be exposed, has been in place for more than 50 years. If that’s the case, how come Gretzky never spent any time in the box for his “tucking?”
We all know the answer to that one.
COMPILED BY STEVE CARP LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL