Professional football player Husain Abdullah is a Muslim and in a game two days ago he caught a touchdown pass and then slid to the ground, knelt in the end zone, and placed his forehead on the ground, the way that Muslims pray. The officials charged the team with a 15-yeard penalty for “unsportsmanlike conduct”.
That’s when things got heated. The NFL had cracked down on ‘celebrations’ because they had long since stopped being spontaneous events and were now carefully planned and choreographed to draw attention to the player, and the dances with their taunting and gloating had become too tasteless even for the NFL, which is saying a lot.
But if there was a religious element involved, such displays had been excused and as a result football and other professional sports teem with athletes making signs of the cross or similar gestures, thus publicly thanking god for taking time out from his busy schedule to help them make a good play.
“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.”
Going to the ground in celebration is forbidden by NFL rules unless the player is praying. Former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, among other Christian players, have made it a regular part of the game.
Tim Tebow’s bows and prayers were so elaborate that it even spawned a new word ‘tebowing’.
So what happened with Abdullah? The news article goes on to say that some argued that the fine was not for Abdullah praying but for sliding along the ground. Others said he was punished because he was not praying to Yahweh, the Official God of the NFL. Yet others said that the rules against celebrating should have an exemption for all religious displays, which would make for interesting developments, such as maybe a synchronized praying dance like with swimming.
But my question is more simple. Tebow had the most elaborate gestures but it was not enough for him to be dumped by several teams and he is now a commentator. Abdullah apparently is a much better player. Does this not prove that Allah is more powerful than Yahweh? Given that professional sports athletes are always seeking a greater competitive edge, will we see more conversions to Islam among them?