Wednesday, October 01, 2014

NFL Flags Muslim Player For Prayer

Muslim NFL player penalized for praying [SB Nation]The NFL used to be the most PR savvy professional sports league in the country.  

But lately it has been buffeted by multiple scandals and kerfluffles, while seeming to be hellbent on liking up to the sarcastic nickname of the 'No Fun League'  

I enjoyed watching the New England Patriots get their butts kicked by the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night.  I enjoyed watching this 39 yard pick six by Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah that helped propel the Chiefs to their 41-14 win over the Patriots. 

What has people pissed off is that after the pick six, Abdullah prayed in the end zone for a moment and was flagged for a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct for 'excessive celebration'.

Okay, I have a problem with that after having to watch Tim Tebow multiple times and a long line of Christian NFL athletes proselytize their faith after scoring TD's. 

Abdullah is a devout Muslim who skipped the 2012 season so that he could take part in the Hajj to Mecca with his brother Hamza Abdullah, who played in the NFL for several seasons.   Both wanted to take part in the Hajj while they had the means to do so.   Hamza Abdullah has yet to be picked up by an NFL team since making that journey, while Husain is now in his second season with the Chiefs after playing for the Minnesota Vikings from 2008-11.  

Abdullah also practices the traditional fast that happens during Ramadan even though it falls during training camp.

The problematic penalty flag also drew the attention of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.  The organization issued a statement early Tuesday asking that the NFL take steps in response to the growing backlash citing the problematic nature of the penalty.

"To prevent the appearance of a double standard, we urge league officials to clarify the policy on prayer and recognize that the official made a mistake in this case," said CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.

The NFL to their credit, acknowledged that Abdullah and the Chiefs shouldn't have been penalized   Even Abdullah noted that it was probably the end zone slide before the prayer that drew the flag. 

"I'm pretty sure he understands who I am, what my faith is," he said in a ESPN interview. "And again, I think the prostration is all right. It's the slide. Come to a full stop, get down, make the prostration, get up and get out."

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