Eight years after the slip of a nipple created a Super Bowl brouhaha, a more commonly exposed body part is causing a commotion.
M.I.A., a guest singer during the Madonna lip-syncing fiesta, shot a middle finger. The screen blurred after the images made their way into more than 100 million homes.
“The NFL hired the talent and produced the halftime show,” NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey said, via the Associated Press. “Our system was late to obscure the inappropriate gesture and we apologize to our viewers.”
“The obscene gesture in the performance was completely inappropriate, very disappointing, and we apologize to our fans,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
Though M.I.A. didn’t pull a similar maneuver during rehearsals, acts looking to achieve notoriety or street cred in high-profile moments always will be inclined to do something outlandish. And so the best system for preventing such incidents comes not from having delays or dump buttons but a strong refusal to take any chances. At a minimum, the contracts should contain stiff financial penalties for anyone who makes obscene statements or gestures.
Regardless, the NFL should always be leery about the persons who headline the Super Bowl halftime show, and anyone invited to make a cameo appearance.