Former Washington State safety and current Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah has one of the most unique and amazing stories in the entire NFL. Abdullah has been able to work his Muslim faith into his day job in an amazing way, but this past Monday, after scoring a touchdown, Abdullah sparked an unexpected controversy.
Husain Abdullah, who graduated from WSU in 2008, intercepted a 4th quarter pass from Tom Brady of the Patriots and returned it 39 yards for only his second touchdown of his career. After crossing the goal line, Abdullah slid into the endzone and bowed his head in prayer. Officials ended up throwing a flag for "going to the ground in celebration" and hit him with the 15 yard "unsportsmanlike conduct" penalty. More information, video and reaction on the penalty is here.
Immediately after it happened, and into the next day, people came out heavily in support of Abdullah and against the ruling in the game. Many felt that after allowing Tebow to pray in his famous pose after touchdowns, yet penalizing this celebration set a little bit of a double standard. Here's a piece from the New York Time's coverage of this story.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, had asked the N.F.L. early Tuesday to clarify its policies "to prevent the appearance of a double standard."
Chiefs officials, including head coach Andy Reid and Abdullah himself, felt that the penalty may have been given because of the slide before the prayer. However, on Tuesday afternoon, the NFL released a statement confirming that the penalty shouldn't have been given:
Abdullah should not have been penalized. Officiating mechanic is not to flag player who goes to ground for religious reasons.— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) September 30, 2014
If you don't know the story of the Abdullah brothers, it is certainly one to take the time to learn about today. These are brothers that are so committed to their faith that they fast during Ramadan, even when it falls within NFL training camp, and even took a full year off from the NFL to make a journey to Mecca. My favorite video is this one from NBC News a couple years back telling their full story, from their days growing up to their time at Washington State and into the NFL.
In the end Andy Reid sums up my thoughts on the situation perfectly:
"When you go to Mecca, you should be able to slide wherever you want," Reid said after the game. "We've got two priests in here. They'd probably vouch for me."
Cougars Host Cal Saturday Night For Homecoming - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State hosts California at 7:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.
Defense rebounds from a slow start - SportsLink - Spokesman.com - Sept. 30, 2014
The Washington State defense faces an explosive offense this week in California, and one that presents a different challenge given that the Cougars have faced exclusively running quarterbacks since the season opener.
Cal defense faces tough test against WSU - SFGate
The Bears defense looked formidable through their first 21/2 games against Northwestern, Sacramento State and Arizona. Washington State, Saturday’s opponent, might not be considered part of the conference’s upper echelon, but the Cougars (2-3, 1-1) do have the top-ranked passing offense in the country with 480.8 yards per game. Senior quarterback Connor Halliday leads the nation in with 2,318 passing yards, and he has thrown the ball 60 more times than any other signal-caller. Washington State coach Mike Leach, whose team won 44-22 last year in Berkeley, believes the Bears defense is improved from a year ago.
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Who's ready for pregame quotes? Tuesdays mean it's your time to get into the heads of our coaches and players (and the opponents') to figure out how they're feeling about this upcoming game.
Soccer notebook: Big test coming for WSU women - Spokesman.com - Sept. 30, 2014
After barely passing a pop quiz last weekend, the Washington State women’s soccer team faces a major test this week in the Bay Area.