The NFL’s Prayer Problem

Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was penalized last night for praying in the end zone after returning an interception for a touchdown. Tim Tebow has similarly prayed — although, apparently, the two prayers aren’t “similar:” one is Christian, and one is Muslim.

The Kansas City Star reports Abdullah is a “devout Muslim” who promised himself that if he scored a touchdown, “I’m going to prostrate before God in the end zone.” Last night, he was penalized for apparently violating Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) of the NFL rulebook (“players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.”)

The league has made exceptions, the Star reports, “for religious expressions, such as Tim Tebow’s prayer while kneeling. But Abdullah may have broken the rule by sliding with both knees into the prayer.”

One knee is okay, two knees is not?

UPDATE: This is revealing: a 2012 slideshow from Bleacher Report, “Tim Tebow and the 10 Most Religious Players in NFL History,” cites only Christian players, even though Abdullah had played in the league since 2008 and was known to observe the Ramadan fast even while playing football. “I’m putting nothing before God, nothing before my religion,” Abdullah told the AP in 2010, when he was playing for the Minnesota Vikings. “This is something I choose to do, not something I have to do. So I’m always going to fast.”

FURTHER UPDATE: The NFL this morning says the official erred in penalizing Abdullah.


  •' Jim Reed says:

    The rules say one knee counts as on the ground. They already explained it, the ref blew the call, although this call isn’t supposed to be reviewable.

  •' DKeane123 says:

    According to Husain Abdullah, the penalty was for the slide, not necessarily the prayer. I guess if Tebow had slid to one knee, that would have been a problem.

  •' Touma says:

    The penalty was on the slide, not the prayer.

  •' davidinD says:

    I’m guessing you didn’t actually watch the game because had you done so you would have noted the way the flag was thrown and the fact that in real time it wasn’t observable as a ‘prayer’ in the way it has been portrayed. I’m a total liberal, but really this story is a good example of liberals making a (discrimination) mountain out of a mole hill. This is a liberal example of the kind of ridiculous banter that conservatives tend to produce daily in the media. I expect clearer and more nuanced analysis from RD.

  •' Jim Reed says:

    Try one of the more nuanced topics. Football is supposed to just be entertainment. This has been an entertaining season, and it can only get better when Manziel starts starting.

  •' jg says:

    The perfect example of trying to create a story out of nothing,,,,,,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *