The NFL admits that it was wrong to slap Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Monday Night Football for bowing in prayer in the end zone.
"Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground. However, 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 spokesman Michael Signora said in a statement Tuesday to the Associated Press.
Abdullah, an NFL veteran and devout Muslim, took to his Twitter account on Tuesday to thank fans who came to his aid in full support for his right to praise his lord.
"I appreciate the overwhelming love and support flowing from all over the world #Peace," Abdullah tweeted.
The firestorm started soon after Abdullah dropped to his knees and bowed in Sajdah, a religious prayer for Muslims, following his 39-yard interception return for a touchdown as part of the Chiefs' 41-14 thrashing of the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. Immediately, refs whistled Abdullah for unsportsmanlike conduct, docking the Chiefs 15 yards.
Abdullah's agent, CJ LaBoy, took to his own Twitter account, saying: "If the NFL tries to fine @HAbdullah39 for his TD celebration there's going to be some problems."
Well, the league will not be fining Abdullah because they admitted that the unsportsmanlike conduct call wasn't right to begin with. The veteran safety missed the entire 2012 season to make the pious pilgrimage to Mecca with his brother Hamza Abdullah, who played safety for seven years in the NFL.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Ed Zurga)