Katie McDonough of Salon.com is reporting that Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct on Monday night after he dropped to the ground in prayer to celebrate a touchdown. Abdullah, a practicing Muslim, was apparently penalized under the NFL’s rules on “excessive celebration.”
“The news of Abdullah’s penalty traveled fast, and fans (and non-fans) mobilized again. The NFL responded swiftly, saying the penalty was a mistake. ‘Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct following his fourth quarter touchdown,’ NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ABC News in a statement.”
Fans were disturbed by the penalty which smacked of discrimination due to Abdullah’s religion. Former NFL player and devout Christian Tim Tebow, would kneel in prayer following a winning play during his college and professional career, giving birth to the term, “Tebowing” in reference to the behavior. Tebow was never penalized by the NFL for praying during a game.
Abdullah, a practicing Muslim, missed the 2012 season to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, along with his family.