Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was penalised against New England Patriots after he celebrated his touchdown by dropping to his knees in prayer.
The 29-year-old devout Muslim was technically in violation of the league’s celebration rules after his 39-yard interception in Kansas' 41-14 Monday win over the Patriots. However, his transgression has triggered a debate in America on whether NFL players should be flagged for a demonstration of faith.
Abdullah received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for practicing the Sajdah, but former Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow, an outspoken Christian, was never punished for a similar act and other Christian players have gone unpenalised, despite no exception stated in the rulebook.
Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) of the NFL rulebook prohibits "Prolonged or excessive celebrations or demonstrations by an individual player. Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground. A celebration or demonstration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate or demonstrate after a warning from an official."
Abdullah's agent tweeted: "If the NFL tries to fine Husain Abdullah for his TD celebration there's going to be some problems."
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If the NFL tries to fine @HAbdullah39 for his TD celebration there's going to be some problems.— CJ LaBoy (@CJLaBoy) September 30, 2014