To be honest, the penalty probably only happened because it was a Monday Night Football game. Because you know, we don't have religious freedom in America. And the media and referees love the New England Patriots and didn’t want the almighty Pats being shown up. I’m a Patriots fan and I was perfectly okay with Abdullah keeping his promise to his Lord.
The NFL doesn't need any more controversy. He did something perfectly OK with me. It’s not like he did anything negative. The NFL didn't fine him or anything. It was an in-game "un-sportsman-like conduct" call, just a 15 yard penalty assessed on the kickoff. But it’s the very concept behind calling it. For years, you've seen players praise God after great plays. This is no different.
Actually, thankfully, the NFL did respond the right way to the incident. This is what NFL spokesman Michael Signora had to say.
“Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct following his fourth quarter touchdown," Signora said in an email to USA Today.
"Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) states '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."”
There is, in fact, a rule that outlaws players going to the ground during touchdown celebrations. But over the years, plenty of Christian players have gone to the ground, and very few, if any, have ever been penalized. The most recent example of a player doing so, of course, was quarterback Tim Tebow.
Tim Tebow is well-known as a “missionary” football player. He might not be quite as demonstrative as Mr. Abdullah was. But the intent is the same. One thing I can say for Tim Tebow. He practices what he preaches. He’s a really good guy. He may not have played up to his potential in the National Football League, but he’s a good positive influence in a lot of lives. Tim’s a good human being, and his faith is his faith. It works for him, holds him accountable to his actions and he praises God for every opportunity that he’s had. That’s admirable, far as I’m concerned.
But Tebow is admittedly a bit of a "missionary." More than a bit, actually. Abdullah wasn't doing that. He was just very grateful to pick off one of the best Quarter Backs in the history of the game of American Football. He said he would do this, and it’s as if the referees were told to watch for it, and punish him for doing something that the United State Constitution protects his right to do. The excessive celebration penalty, an extension of the un-sportsman like penalty, was meant to cut down on players being cocky shits. But instead of being a cocky shit, Abdullah did the exact opposite. He actually humbled himself before his lord. If anything, that should be praised, not condemned. It seems the penalty was only called because he was a Muslim, and oh boy, that looks bad.
The officials should be ashamed of themselves. Obviously, a lot of people agree with me, and the NFL did indeed release a statement saying that it was a stupid penalty call. The penalty didn’t affect the game, of course. The Chiefs destroyed the New England Patriots 41-14. But it shows a sort of political correctness that should not be applied to an American pastime. It seems like such a little thing, but it’s the intention behind the call that worries me. I understand that Muslims are an extremely misunderstood group of people. But people like Abdullah, who demonstrate the best of his religion, should be praised.
Bless you, Husain Abdullah. I’m sure your entire team is behind you. Keep it up. Returning interceptions for touchdowns and prostrating before God. I’m sure the Chiefs will take the pick-six every time. Just don’t pick off poor Brady again, please.
At least the NFL responded correctly this time. Don’t let it happen again.
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