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US Football League admits mistake in penalizing Abdullah for religious celebration

31st Oct 2014

Elham Asaad Buaras

American NFL player Husain Abdullah should not have been penalised when he dropped to his knees in prayer after an interception the National Football League (NFL) ruled on September 30.http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/wp-admin/post-new.php?post_type=newspaper

Husain Abdullah scored for the Kansas City Chiefs as they defeated the New England Patriots 41-14.

The league’s rule book prohibits players from celebrating while on the ground, but spokesman Michael Signora conceded that “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.”

NFL admits mistake in penalizing Abdullah for religious celebration

Angry fans took to twitter to show what they say was an double standards in the Abdullah’s punishment pointing to the fact former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was never punished for his his prayer

The flag thrown in the fourth quarter led to criticism, fans took to social media to point out that there were plenty of Christian players who marked their touchdowns with signs of deference or religious tributes.

Many are wondering how it was different from players such as former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow dropping to one knee in Christian prayer.

Abdullah is a devout Muslim who took a year off from football to make a pilgrimage to Makkah. He said after the game that he knew before he even reached the end zone he would drop to his knees in thankful prayer after intercepting Tom Brady.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, asked the NFL take steps in response to the penalty.

“To prevent the appearance of a double standard, we urge league officials to clarify the policy on prayer and recognize that the official made a mistake in this case,” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.

The NFL Referee Association backed the match officials insisting the referee was correct in flagging Abdullah, not because of the prayer, but because of the slide that preceded it.

“Both the officials and the player involved in the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty were not confused as to why a flag was thrown. The player was flagged, correctly, for the slide on his knees in the end zone, not for going to the ground in a prayerful gesture,” said recently retired Referee and former NFLRA President, Scott Green. “On field officials are aware of the prayer provision and respect the right of players of all faiths to express themselves.”

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