During Monday night’s game against the New England Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah bent to his knees to pray in the end zone after he returned an interception 39 yards for a touchdown.
He was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct for his religious display. Abdullah is Muslim and claimed that if he ever returned an interception for a touchdown, that he would pray. The league has since said the penalty was wrong and has redacted it. Still why did Abdullah get a penalty in the first place? If Tim Tebow can spend more of his NFL career taking a knee for Jesus than throwing touchdown passes, then I think a guy that barely gets a shot at the end zone can take 10 seconds to thank the big guy upstairs after a pick six.
The league has rules that say expressing your religious freedom on the field isn’t against the rules, so long as it’s obvious. The league has also stated it will not penalize Abdullah any further and that the penalty itself was a mistake. The league has suffered a lot of scrutiny this season and for good reason. The handling of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson scandals has been downright embarrassing both for the NFL and the franchises involved.
I have nothing against the Muslim faith and fully support Abdullah openly displaying his faith on the field. I recognize that this could just be a fluke on the officiating crew of the game Monday night, but I find it an unfortunate coincidence that Abdullah was practicing a faith that stirs controversy in this country.
Luckily there was an outpour of support for Abdullah on social media so my faith in humanity, and the NFL, hasn’t been totally demolished. I do think that next time officials should make sure they can tell the difference between a prayer and an excessive celebration. And if they do fine Abdullah for one prayer, then I think Tebow owes the league about one year’s salary.