NFL says penalty after touchdown prayer was unwarranted

Husain Abdullah
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Kansas City Chiefs, Husain Abdullah

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Husain Abdullah returns an interception for a 39-yard touchdown. (Dilip Vishwanat / Getty Images)

It started like any other play and ended like any touchdown could.

The New England Patriots are in the other end of a beatdown at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs on “Monday Night Football.”

Trailing and desperate, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady drops back for a pass in the fourth quarter. And like throughout most of the night, the play goes the other way. Chiefs cornerback Husain Abdullah intercepts the throw takes it back 39 yards for a touchdown. (Brady, by the way, was benched after the pick-six.)

Husain Abdullah

Then, it happened. Instead of turning to the skies and pointing a finger to the Heavens, Adbullah, a devout Muslim, slid to his knees, bowed for a second and performed a religious prayer called Sajdah.

Refs immediately flagged the play. They cited unsportsmanlike conduct.

Technically, the violation wasn’t for Abdullah’s prostration, but the act of sliding in celebration.

The NFL rule:

Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) of the NFL rulebook states that “players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.”

UPDATE: NFL said Tuesday morning that the Chiefs’ safety should not have been penalized. Period.

The outrage over social media, however, started long before.

Abdullah, himself, took to Instragram posting an image of himself in the endzone and adding ” “Subhana Rabbial-‘Ala” (Glory be to my Lord The Most High)”:

It should be noted that “Tebowing,” the act of dropping to a knee popularized by former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, a devout Christian, was never penalized after a touchdown celebration.

Bilal Powell (29) of the New York Jets 'Tebows' after scoring a touchdown on Nov. 18, 2012. (Dilip Vishwanat / Getty Images)

Bilal Powell (29) of the New York Jets ‘Tebows’ after scoring a touchdown on Nov. 18, 2012. (Dilip Vishwanat / Getty Images)

So who made the right call? The refs, or the NFL?

(A reminder, keep the conversation respectful.)

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