Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was penalized for kneeling in a Muslim prayer after running 39 yards for a touchdown against the New England Patriots in last night’s Monday Night Football game. Abdullah was penalized with 15 yards for “unsportsmanlike conduct.”
The NFL has now responded to the incident, saying that Abdullah should not have been penalized for his religious expression.
"Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct following his fourth quarter touchdown," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement.
McCarty cited the NFL rule book which states that "players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground."
"However,” McCarthy said, “the officiating mechanic in this situation is not to flag a player who goes to the ground as part of religious expression, and as a result, there should have been no penalty on the play.”
Numerous other players have not been penalized for praying during games including Tim Tebow, Robert Griffin III, Brandon Marshall, James Jones and many others.
Abdullah said that he believes the referee that called the penalty did not approve that he slid onto both knees before the prayer.
Publication date: September 30, 2014