Chiefs S Abdullah (left) was penalized on Monday Night Football for praying on the ground following an INT-TD.
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On Monday Night Football, Chiefs S Husain Abdullah had one of the highlights of his career by picking off Patriots QB Tom Brady and returning it for a game-sealing TD.
But following the TD, Abdullah, a devout Muslim, slid on his knees and bowed in prayer in the end zone.
The prayer drew a 15-yard penalty flag for unsportsmanlike conduct, for “going to the ground” while celebrating after a score. There are exceptions made for religious prayer in the rule — like Tim Tebow’s kneeling.
Abdullah said following the game he thought he was penalized for the slide prior to his prayer.
However, Michael Signora, the NFL’s vice president of football communication, said Tuesday morning that refs erred in flagging Abdullah:
Abdullah should not have been penalized. Officiating mechanic is not to flag player who goes to ground for religious reasons.
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) September 30, 2014
The statement was made after numerous criticisms of the penalty.