Remember Tim Tebow? The New York quarterback who made a name for himself in Evangelical circles by praying on the field, and became the poster boy for the Christian Persecution Complex™ in this country?
Regardless of how persecuted Evangelicals wanted to feel, the NFL never penalized Tebow for praying. The same thing cannot be said for Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah.
Abdullah, a traditional Muslim who fasts during Ramadan despite it coinciding with training camp and missed the 2012 season so he could take part in a Hajj to Mecca, was penalized during Monday night’s nationally-televised game against the New England Patriots, according to SB Nation. The NFL hit Abdullah with a penalty for “unsportsmanlike conduct” after he dropped to the ground and “prostrated before God” following a touchdown.
So, when an Evangelical prays, the NFL is fine with it. When a Muslim prays, it’s “unsportsmanlike conduct.”
That is one hell of a double standard.
And even thought he NFL announced later that the penalty was undeserved — with spokesman Michael Signora saying that “there should have been no penalty on the play” — it reeks as little more than backtracking once they started to get hammered by various organizations like CAIR:
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.
For his part, Husain never expected any repercussions as a result of the penalty, at least from his coach:
“I’m pretty sure he understands who I am, what my faith is,” he said. “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.”
The NFL is in the middle of an image crisis and they’re a long way from fixing it.
You can watch the interception below:
h/t RS ; ESPN Go