Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah penalized for post-touchdown prayer
USA Today | September 30, 2014
Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after punctuating his 39-yard interception return for a touchdown with the following gesture in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s 41-14 win over the New England Patriots.
The refs flagged the 29-year-old veteran for dropping to his knees after the play, technically a violation of the league’s celebration rules. But it was rather apparent that Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was practicing the Sajdah, a religious prayer.
As former NFL referee Mike Pereira pointed out last season, going to one’s knees to give praise is exempt from that enforcement.
While social media is already full of accusations claiming a more diabolical double standard in penalizing Abdullah for his prayer, it’s equally possible that the referees saw him drop to his knees and threw the flag before recognizing what his intentions were.
The best thing the league could do is put out a definitive statement first thing Tuesday admitting that he shouldn’t have been flagged and that the officials made a mistake.
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