KANSAS CITY, Mo. – After intercepting a pass from New England quarterback Tom Brady and returning it 39 yards for a touchdown, Kansas City safety Husain Abdullah—a devout Muslim—dropped to the ground and bowing in prayer to Allah, earning him a 15-yard penalty for unchristian-like conduct.
“The Kansas City player’s actions were a clear violation of the rules,” said NFL spokesman Michael Signora, citing Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) which states, “Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground unless they are specifically Christian in nature.”
“If he’d just genuflected, there wouldn’t have been a penalty.”
Abdullah, who fasts during Ramadan, even though it coincides with training camp, and took off the 2012 season in order to take part in the Hajj to Mecca, blamed himself for the mental lapse. “For me, I just got a little too excited,” he said. “My solemn touchdown prayer thanking Allah was blatantly non-Christian, so of course they’re going to call a penalty.”
“I was just glad we were ahead by as much as we were,” said Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith. “Winning 41-14 takes the sting out of one of our guys doing something so dumb. But man, if it’d been close and he still went all Islam on us like that, I’d have been pretty pissed.”
Former Denver and New York quarterback Tim Tebow, who became known for his overtly Christian gestures during games to such a point that the practice became known as “Tebowing,” said he could almost identify with Abdullah. “The need to thank God any time you succeed at sports can be overwhelming,” he said. “Even when you’re thanking a fake God.”