A firestorm erupted on social media, following Husain Abdullah’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for an on-field prayer on Sept. 29, leading the NFL to release a statement saying the Kansas City Chiefs player shouldn’t have been punished.
The NFL admits officials were wrong to penalize Husain Abdullah, who received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty, for dropping to his knees and praying on the field, following a stellar play during a game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots on Sept. 29.
Husain Abdullah’s Prayer: NFL Says Officials Were Wrong To Penalize Chiefs Player
“Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct following his fourth quarter touchdown,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora told USA TODAY.
“Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) states ‘players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.’ However, 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,” he added.
Furthermore, the Chiefs player will not be fined.
The NFL’s statement came after fans shared their frustrations on Twitter, claiming the penalization felt like a double standard. Fans compared Husain’s religious expression to that of former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, and many other Christian players, who have made praying a regular part of the game and have never been penalized. (See the photo above!)
Husain, who is a devout Muslim, thanked his fans on Twitter Tuesday, Sept. 30, for their support.
I appreciate the overwhelming love and support flowing from all over the world. #Peace
— Husain Abdullah (@HAbdullah39) September 30, 2014
NFL Clarifies Situation
Husain told reporters after the game he thought he was flagged for sliding to his knees first, not performing the Sajdah. The NFL, however, clarified the situation, saying that celebrating a play on the ground is forbidden unless the player is praying.
What do YOU think, HollywoodLifers? Was it fair for the NFL to punish Husain Abdullah? Did they only say the penalization was wrong because of the backlash from fans? Tell us how you feel!