Husain Abdullah knew before he even reached the end zone Monday night that he would drop to his knees in thankful prayer after intercepting Tom Brady in the fourth quarter of the Kansas City Chiefs' 41-14 victory over New England.
He had no idea he would be penalized for it. But after sliding to the grass in the end zone at Arrowhead Stadium, that's exactly what happened. The devout Muslim, who stepped away from the game for a year to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, saw yellow flags flying from the game officials.
The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty touched off a firestorm of controversy on social media, with many wondering how it was different than players dropping to one knee in Christian prayer. It turns out the referees were flagging Abdullah for the slide, not the prostration, and even Abdullah acknowledged that the NFL prohibits sliding to the knees in celebration.