Muslim NFL star penalized for celebratory prayer

Hussain Abdullah slid to his knees after intercepting a Tom Brady pass for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter

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Kansas City Chiefs player Hussain Abdullah was slapped with a 15-yard penalty in the NFL on Monday after punctuating a fourth quarter touchdown by dropping to his knees in prayer, the U.S. media reported.

Abdullah, a devout Muslim, slid to his knees after intercepting a Tom Brady pass for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter of the Chiefs’ 41-14 win over the New England Patriots. He then leaned forward and pressed his forehead against the end zone grass.

It is technically a violation of the National Football League’s “excessive celebration” rules after scores to do what Abdullah did. Whether the penalty was for sliding or the bowing in prayer is unclear.

“If I get a pick I am going to prostrate before God in the end zone,” Abdullah told The Kansas City Star newspaper. “For me, I just got a little too excited. I think it was for the slide.”

Social media was quick to criticize the officials, including Abdullah’s agent CJ LaBoy, who indicated that his client was practising the ‘sajda’, a religious prayer.

“If the NFL tries to fine @HAbdullah39 for his TD celebration there’s going to be some problems,” LaBoy wrote on his Twitter account.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid didn’t know what to make of the penalty.

“When you go to Makkah, you should be able to slide where ever you want,” he said. “We’ve got two priests in here. They’d probably vouch for me.”

It is interesting to note the NFL never penalised former Denver Bronco Tim Tebow’s “Tebowing” celebration, which became an American phenomenon three years ago.

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