MIA shows middle finger during Super Bowl halftime show

M.I.A at Super Bowl

NFL and NBC apologise but others say finger was not the most obscene thing at the Lucas Oil Stadium

LAST UPDATED AT 12:29 ON Mon 6 Feb 2012

AMERICA'S NFL and television network NBC were forced to issue an apology after Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show. It wasn't a flash of Janet Jackson's nipple that caused the furore this year but British rapper MIA sticking her middle finger up during a performance of Madonna's new single Give Me all Your Luvin.

As 110 million viewers tuned in to watch the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots 21-17 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, the rapper, dressed in a red Egyptian-style outfit, flipped the bird and appeared to sing "I don't give a shit".

NFL blamed NBC's delay system – the screen briefly blurs just a second too late in what was a failed attempt to cut out the shot – while NBC was quick to note that NFL had hired the talent and produced the halftime show. Both, nevertheless, apologised for the "inappropriate gesture".

The incident has been compared to the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show in which Janet Jackson's right breast popped out of her bra while she performed with Justin Timberlake. The broadcasting network CBS received half a million complaints and was fined $550,000 by the Federal Communications Commission for airing it.

A source close to the rapper told the Daily Mail that MIA, who grew up during the Sri Lankan civil war and has carried out charity work with ex-child soldiers in Liberia, was struck with "a case of adrenaline" during the performance and was "incredibly sorry".

But one commentator, Chris Baldwin says, in the Houston online magazine CultureMap, her "silly, mainstream attention grabbing middle finger" was hardly the most obscene thing seen in Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday night.

He thinks the poor performance from Tom Brady, the quarterback so many had rushed to brand one of the greatest of all time, "rates much higher on the offensive scale".

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