When Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah picked off Tom Brady and returned it for a touchdown, he said a quick prayer.
But unlike Tim Tebow doing the same thing when he got to the end zone, Abdullah was flagged.
The Muslim safety said he made a promise to himself that he’d show his respect if he ever scored.
“If I get a pick, I’m going to prostrate before God in the end zone,” Abdullah said, via Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star.
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.”
Christian players have routinely gone unpenalized while kneeling in prayer, though there is no specific exception in the rulebook.
Abdullah said he thought he was flagged for the sliding portion rather than the prayer, but Chiefs coach Andy Reid wasn’t sure that should be the case.
“When you go to Mecca, you should be able to slide wherever you want,” Reid said. “We’ve got two priests in here. They’d probably vouch for me.”
Given the tolerance the league has shown for other religious celebrations, there should be no difference, and there should be an apology on the way.