Husain Abdullah Penalized For Prayer; NFL Admits Mistake
Husain Abdullah, a safety for the Kansas City Chiefs, was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for getting down on his knees after returning an interception 39 yards for a touchdown.
Husain Abdullah Penalized For Prayer Celebration
The officials, seeing Abdullah drop down to his knees, believed that he was violating the NFL’s celebration rules. However, Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was merely practicing the Sajdah religious prayer. Giving praise or taking to one's knees for religious reasons during an NFL game is not a violation.
Following the play Abdullah’s agent CJ LaBoy took to Twitter to note that there was nothing punishable about the player’s celebration.
If the NFL tries to fine @HAbdullah39 for his TD celebration there's going to be some problems.
— CJ LaBoy (@CJLaBoy) September 30, 2014
NFL Admits Mistake
By Monday morning, the NFL released a statement to acknowledge that the safety should not have been penalized.
Abdullah should not have been penalized. Officiating mechanic is not to flag player who goes to ground for religious reasons.
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) September 30, 2014
Throughout his NFL career, Abdullah has been outspoken about the importance that his Muslim faith has in his life. In 2012, both Abdullah and his brother Hamza, a fellow NFL player, took a spiritual pilgrimage to Mecca.