The NFL Doesn’t Know What Non-Christian Prayers Look Like

Husain Abdullah
Twitter screenshot  

During a football game Monday night, Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah made a 39-yard interception for a touchdown, which led to the team's 41-14 win over the New England Patriots. But it's what Abdullah did after making the touchdown that caught everyone's attention, including the NFL's.

Abdullah received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty after making the following gesture:

According to the inept NFL, Abdullah was in violation of celebration rules. Apparently the NFL doesn't recognize prayer if the player isn't Tebowing for Jesus. Abdullah was performing sadjah, a prayer practiced by those of the Islamic faith (Abdullah is a devout Muslim).

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The NFL may have been unfamiliar with what Abdullah was doing, but those on social media were not:

https://twitter.com/HamzaAbdullah21/status/516961518399655938

Neither was Abdullah's agent:

https://twitter.com/CJLaBoy/status/516786507886374912

The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement Tuesday asking the NFL to amend the penalty: "To prevent the appearance of a double standard, we urge league officials to clarify the policy on prayer and recognize that the official made a mistake in this case," CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.

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Abdullah himself was unsure whether he was being fined for the actual prayer or the slide.

"For me, I just got a little too excited," Abdullah said, according to the Kansas City Star. "I think it was for the slide."

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Well, unfortunately, that wasn't the case. In typical NFL backpedaling, the organization admitted to its mistake this morning:

https://twitter.com/NFLfootballinfo/status/516942894318383104

As much as the NFL has been scrutinized for its response to domestic violence, the league may want to take a refresher course in different types of prayers besides the ones Tim Tebow is known for.

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