Muslim NFL player Husain Abdullah of the Kansas City Chiefs (Gasp! That name is probably not PC) was penalized Monday night for unsportsmanlike conduct when he dropped to his knees and laid his head down in the posture of Muslim prayer—the Islamic version of Tebowing.
Abdullah had just completed a pick six against Tom Brady, and he says he knew before he reached the end zone that he was going to show his gratitude for Allah by dropping to his knees. He may not have thought beforehand about the NFL’s rules for celebration. They do not allow sliding to your knees apparently. Abdullah has actually had a good attitude about the whole thing:
Mr. Abdullah told reporters after the game that the penalty was due to his sliding, rather than his prayer.
But others were not so forgiving:
But social media users weighed in, pointing to others who’ve prayed on the field — like Tim Tebow, who started the now-famous “Tebowing” trend — without penalty.
Again, Abdullah and those without axes to grind realized that this was a matter of following the letter of the NFL regulations, not religious persecution. Similar to the “persecution” of the atheist airman who almost lost his job for refusing to say “so help me God” or the “persecution” of RGIII for wearing a “Know Jesus” t-shirt, this has more to do with bureaucratic officiousness than an ideological preference for Christianity.
Not to be out-PCed, the NFL has since issued a statement saying Abdullah should not have been penalized, and perhaps they will change their rules so that the Muslim version of Tebowing is allowed. I doubt Abdullahing will become as popular as Tebowing, however, as lying prostrate on the ground is not quite as cool-looking as dropping to one knee. That, and who can really be expected to know the direction of Mecca in the heat of the moment? But time will tell.