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NFL: Husain Abdullah Should Not Have Been Penalised

Posted on Sep 30, 2014 by in Uncategorized | 0 comments


A Muslim player was penalized for dropping to his knees in prayer after scoring a touchdown.

Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after he dropped to the ground and performed the Sajdah in the fourth quarter of last night’s game against the New England Patriots.

Abdullah had just intercepted a pass from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and returned it for a touchdown.

Big play: Abdullah had just intercepted a pass from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (above) and ran the ball back into the end zone

The NFL, who could have fined Abdullah, released a statement early Monday morning about the incident.

Michael Signora, the NFL Vice President of Football Communications, wrote on Twitter, ‘Abdullah should not have been penalized. Officiating mechanic is not to flag player who goes to ground for religious reasons.’

 The rule that referees claimed Abdullah violated reads, ‘Prolonged or excessive celebrations or demonstrations by an individual player. Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground. A celebration or demonstration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate or demonstrate after a warning from an official.’

According to Mike Pereira however, the former Vice President of Officiating in the NFL, players who pray after scoring a touchdown are not in violation of this rule.

Pereira even explicitly said as much on his Twitter account in 2013, writing, ‘you’re not penalized for going to the ground to give praise after a TD.’

Players praying after major plays and touchdowns has long been common in the NFL. In fact, former quarterback Tim Tebow prayed so frequently during games that the act of kneeling with one’s head bowed and an arm resting on bent knee became known as ‘Tebowing.’

Tebow, who is a Christian, was never once penalized by the NFL for this action.

Abdullah, who fasts during Ramadan and even sat out the entire 2012 season so he and his brother, former NFL safety Hamza Abdullah, could visit Mecca during the Hajj in October, has yet to respond to the controversy.

But Husain’s brother Hamza told MailOnline that the penalty should never have been given and blamed possible ‘ignorance’ on the part of the referee.

Hamza, a former Denver Broncos safety, said that his brother was merely thanking his God for allowing him to ‘show off his gifts at such a high level’.

He said: ‘We have always tried to be good examples of what Muslims are about and try to bring out the best in Islam. I don’t think it was (a case of) it’s a Muslim celebration, we’re going to fine him.

‘Maybe it was a bit of not knowing, simply a bit of ignorance by the referee. He didn’t know what Husain was doing.

‘Maybe he thought he was going down to pull something out of his jersey… referees are human and make mistakes and he is erring on the side of being cautious’.

Hamza urged the NFL to educate itself and said that, compared to the slew of recent stories about the league, him and his brother are a positive story.

He said that his brother prays five times a day and so when he was score the touchdown and was on his knees, a position known by Muslim as Sajdah, it seemed natural to lower his head to the ground.

Hamza, who like his brother has been a devout Muslim his whole life, said that when he saw his brother do this he thought it was ‘beautiful’.

He said: ‘I thought he was representing the NFL, his family and his religion in the right way’.

Asked if he thought the league was racist, Hamza said: ‘I don’t think the NFL is that way’.

Hamza also said that if a Christian player was given a penalty for doing something similar than his brother would feel that it was unfair to punish him too.

Tebowing: Giving praise following touchdowns and major plays is common among many players in the NFL, most notably Tim Tebow (above)

Penalty or not, Abdullah’s touchdown still helped carry the Chiefs to a 41 – 14 victory over the Patriots.

This of course comes at a time when the NFL is already under fire following their botched treatment of numerous abuse scandals involving players including Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy, to name just a few.

Source: Daily Mail

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