Let me start off by saying this, Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was not penalised because of his religion.
You will all have seen the story by now. Abdullah, a devout Muslim, picked off one of Tom Brady's several terrible passes in the Chiefs destruction of the New England Patriots and returned it all the way for a touchdown.
As Abdullah breached the end zone he slid down on to his knees and proceeded to celebrate with a prayer. For this, a referee threw down his yellow flag and Abdullah was charged with an 'Unsportsmanlike Conduct' call for 'Excessive Celebration.'
Yes, it really is as ridiculous as it all sounds. But, it is not an affront to Islam, nor any other religion that is practiced and displayed upon an NFL field.
Rather, this is the fault of the referee in question and a rule the NFL enforce that is completely asinine and pointless.
Abdullah was pulled up because he slid on to his knees. In the long list of what constitutes an excessive celebration, a player sliding on his knees in the end-zone will get you a fine, but simply stopping and dropping down on to one knee or two is alright.
Abdullah, and any player expressing their faith for that matter, could be fined according to the rulebook. Nowhere in the rules does it say anything about an exception for religion, it is only the none done thing for fear of backlash.
The National Football League have come out and said the official was wrong to throw a flag. Not exactly the apology a lot of people are waiting for, but this is the NFL so we can't expect much good PR from them.
No Fun League
As you can see - as if you didn't know it already - the NFL and it's rulebook are a complete mess. The excessive celebration ruling in itself should be abolished immediately, we want to see players celebrate and the No Fun League is only enhancing it's reputation.
SB Nation summed up how ludicrous it all is earlier:
"A player can make a Superman gesture across his chest, but move one hand up a bit and it's a throat slash and penalty. Dunking a football is not allowed, but jumping into the stands is (because that's not in the field of play, you see)"
So yet again we find ourselves arguing about the semantics and connotations of a very stupid rule that should not be enforced. Welcome to the NFL in 2014.