Husain Abdullah, a Muslim NFL player for the Kansas City Chiefs, was penalized for dropping to his knees to pray after scoring a touchdown on Monday night. The league has since said Abdullah should not have been flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
According to league rules, players are prohibited from displaying any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground. Abdullah received the 15-yard penalty after intercepting New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and returning the ball 39 yards for a touchdown.
Abdullah slid into the end zone on his knees and then briefly bowed his head toward the ground. The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement Tuesday asking the NFL to admit they’d made a mistake.
“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,” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.
Rosie O’Donnell discussed the penalty Tuesday on “The View,” saying she feels Americans are “feeding into Muslim fear.”
“I think as a nation we are,” O’Donnell said. “I think that, you know, it propels us to war. You have to rally the country in order to bomb a country that did nothing to you and you need to rally them and so that’s what I think that was.”
“Players like Tim Tebow do that whole thing, so why don’t other people get penalized?” co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked.
Tebow, a polarizing ex-NFL quarterback, kneeled during games in a moment of prayer. The pose become known as “Tebowing” and became a popular online meme.
The NFL announced Tuesday that it has no interest in penalizing players who display their faith on the field, saying:
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
Abdullah’s Chiefs thumped the Patriots 41-14. After
Watch the “Hot Topics” segment from Tuesday morning’s “The View” below.