Kansas City safety and devoted Muslim Husain Abdullah was penalized Monday night after he scored a touchdown for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Abdullah received the 15-yard penalty for sliding on his knees in the end zone and bowing in prayer after he intercepted a pass from Patriot quarterback Tom Brady and ran 39 yards for a touchdown.
Social media was abuzz following the penalty, with many users noting similar religious celebrations by other NFL players (Tim Tebow, Greg Jennings) that were not penalized.
Brandon Marshall gets on knees & raises hands to Jesus after TD..No penalty..Husain Abdullah bows to Mecca..15 yards! pic.twitter.com/6G5sDfaWO0
— Arsalan Iftikhar (@TheMuslimGuy) September 30, 2014
Abdullah and his brother Hamza, who is also a successful NFL player, both took the 2012 season off to make a spiritual pilgrimage to Mecca.
After the game, Abdullah’s agent tweeted:
If the NFL tries to fine @HAbdullah39 for his TD celebration there's going to be some problems.
— CJ LaBoy (@CJLaBoy) September 30, 2014
“For me, I just got a little too excited,” Abdullah said during a post game interview, according to The Kansas City Star. “I think it was for the slide.”
The NFL’s vice president of football communications, Michael Signora, took to Twitter Tuesday morning, saying the penalty was unwarranted.
Abdullah should not have been penalized. Officiating mechanic is not to flag player who goes to ground for religious reasons.
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) September 30, 2014
Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals.