Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct Monday night when he went to his knees in prayer to celebrate a Tom Brady pick-six. Abdullah—a devout Muslim who sat out the 2012-13 season to make Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca—shouldn't have been penalized.
If there is any doubt as to what Abdullah was doing, here's his brother and former NFL safety Hamza Abdullah on Twitter:
And his agent:
Going strictly by the rulebook, NFL officials are seemingly justified in flagging Abdullah, as part of the taunting rule states, "players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground." But in 2008, then-vice president of NFL officiating Mike Pereira explained on the NFL Network that there was a loophole in the rule against players going to the ground: prayer.
In 2013, Pereira reiterated this exception:
Here's an alternate angle of Abdullah's celebration:
Update: In a statement, the NFL says Abdullah shouldn't have been flagged.