Tired of going after child abusers and crazy elevator attackers, the NFL decided to switch things up and start penalizing Muslim NFL players, slapping Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah with unsportsmanlike conduct during Monday night’s game for praying after scoring a touchdown.
After Husain Abdullah intercepted a Tom Brady pass and returned it for a touchdown, he dropped to the ground and prayed… but not to Jesus. Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was practicing the Sajdah, a religious MUSLIM prayer.
Abdullah was hit with a penalty because, according to the NFL rulebook, “players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.” Except, of course, when they’re Christian and named Tim Tebow. Not only was Tim Tebow’s “Tebowing” gesture not penalized, but it became a highly embraced occurrence during the 2011 season.
By the next morning the NFL was backtracking on their decision, saying it was mistake to punish Husain Abdullah with a 15-yard penalty after he prostrated himself and prayed in the end zone.
“Abdullah should not have been penalized,” Michael Signora, the NFL’s vice-president of football communications, said in a tweet. “Officiating mechanic is not to flag player who goes to ground for religious reasons.”
Abdullah tried deflecting attention from the situation after the game by saying that he thought he was penalized for sliding after getting into the end zone.
“I don’t think it was because of the actual prostration that I got the penalty,” he told the Kansas City Star newspaper “I think it was because of the slide.”
But the NFL’s admission of error makes it pretty clear that it wasn’t the slide, they were just caught pulling a double standard.