1 Oct 2014

NFL player penalised for praying

12:20 pm on 1 October 2014

The Kansas City player Husain Abdullah was wrongly penalised for kneeling in prayer to celebrate a touchdown in the Chiefs 41-14 win over the New England Patriots in American football match.

The NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says Abdullah should not have been penalised for unsportsmanlike conduct following his fourth quarter touchdown.

Abdullah, a devout Muslim, slid to his knees and then leaned forward and pressed his forehead against the end zone grass.

Abdullah thought the officials were penalising him for the exaggerated slide.

NRL rules prohibit players from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.

However McCarthy says "a player who goes to the ground as part of religious expression," should not be penalised.

The incident caused a debate on social media with many criticising the officials, including Abdullah's agent CJ LaBoy who indicated that his client was practising the 'sajda', a religious prayer.

Abdullah missed the entire 2012 NFL season to take a pilgrimage to Mecca with his brother and former NFL player, Hamza.