The Real Cost of a Middle Finger: Obscene

For most people, giving someone the finger is crass and juvenile. For others, it's irresistible. For people under contract with the National Football League, it's also costly.

The latest bird-flipper is 21-year-old Johnny Manziel , the rookie quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. He was just fined $12,000 for flashing his middle digit during an NFL preseason game. He made the obscene gesture during the team's road loss to the Washington Redskins on Aug. 18.

Manziel's fine is more than the minimum $11,025 for a first offense. He can appeal the fine because it's more than 25 percent of his weekly check. If he appeals and wins, the amount could $11,025 to 25 percent of his weekly pay, or about $6,000.

In 2011, Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk was fined $10,000 for flipping it to his own bench. He later said it was a "running joke" with other players. In 2010, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan was fined five times that when he made the obscene gesture at a mixed martial arts event in Florida. His fine was levied by the New York Jets organization.

Then there's the double-bird flip. Doing that during a game against the Buffalo Bills in 2009 cost the late Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams $250,000.

Pop singer M.I.A, who gave the camera the one-finger salute at the SuperBowl halftime presentation in 2012, mentions Adams in her be cut , NFL vs MIA. The NFL initially sued her for $1.5 million for breach of contract but upped the ante this March. It's now suing M.I.A. for $15.5 million more, according to the Youtube video . That's based on what advertisers would have paid for ads during the two minutes she was on the air.

More stories by Suzanne Woolley:

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.