NFL player penalised after kneeling in prayer

NFL player penalised after kneeling in prayer

The NFL has said that Kansas City Chiefs player Husain Abdullah should not have been penalised for his prayer celebration in last night's game against the New England Patriots.

Critics had accused the league of double standards after the safety was penalised for "excessive celebration" after sliding on his knees and praying after scoring a touchdown.

The main question posed was why Abdullah, a devout Muslim, should be given a 15-yard penalty for his prostration to God when similar Christian acts have not been penalised in the past.

League spokesman Michael Signora confirmed on Tuesday that "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."

According to the Kansas City Star, Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) of the NFL rulebook states that “players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground”.

However, acts of religious observance, such as Tim Tebow's bow to god, are usually exempt from this rule and in this case the league has sided with Abdullah.

Chiefs coach Reid told the Associated Press after the game that the match officials had told him they had no problem with Abdullah's salutation, only the knee slide in the build up to it.

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