The NFL just keeps getting things wrong.
This time, an official flagged Husain Abdullah for praying to Mecca after scoring a touchdown on on Monday night. And then, the next day, a spokesperson for the NFL issued a statement to clarify that the 15 yard penalty was handed down in error:
"Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) states ‘players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.’ 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."
Now that the NFL has admitted the error, of course, I anxiously await the furor from the good people who have been so vocal of late on issues of religious freedom (as in the Hobby Lobby case). They’ll surely be indignant over this unfair treatment of a religious person who simply wants to pray in public.
In all seriousness, though, this was an important statement for the NFL to make, given the many prominent religious celebrations from Christian football players that never result in penalties and thus the appearance of inequality in the treatment of a Muslim player.