It wasn’t much of a game, but that doesn’t mean interesting things didn’t happen (full disclosure, I did not watch the game. I was busy doing something else, but I just can’t remember what it was.) Apparently the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the New England Patriots 41-14 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. That is the boring part.
Now for the interesting part. Here is how ABC NEWS (click here for whole story) described it:
Kansas City Chiefs’ safety Husain Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was penalized 15 yards for “unsportsmanlike conduct” after he kneeled in prayer. He had run 39 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter
Was Abdullah penalized for praying? If so, it would be a terrible double standard, because many athletes make spiritual gestures/prayers/kneel when they score or do something important (for more info, c/f Tebowing). What we have learned since, is that no, he was not penalized for praying, but was penalized for the slide. The Washington Post quotes Abdullah:
“For me, I just got a little too excited,” Abdullah said. “I think it was for the slide.” The lesson Abdullah took away? “Stop before you drop.”
Interesting. Interesting indeed.
Two things should be pointed out in this whole issue. One, it showed something nice. Almost instantly people were outraged when they thought he was penalized for praying as a Muslim. That is a good thing about the United States, and demonstrates religious liberty and tolerance. Religious liberty for everyone is a historic Baptist doctrine that is often neglected in the culture war salvos made from many pulpits and platforms. That the knee jerk reaction this morning against what might have been perceived as religious discrimination was so strong that the NFL had to make a special announcement about it demonstrates that the stream of tolerance and freedom flows freely amongst Americans.
The second glaring item is an irony. In many (all?) majority Muslim nations, any person who might demonstrate faith in Christ in a public way would likely face a far worse penalty than Abdullah received in the game.
image from http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/nfl-kansas-city-chiefs-player-penalized-prayer/story?id=25859886