The National Football League admitted on Tuesday that Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for sliding on his knees and bowing in prayer after scoring a touchdown.
Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was slapped with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty after his touchdown during the Chiefs' 41-14 rout of the New England Patriots on Monday night.
NFL spokesman Michael Signora said players are not allowed to celebrate while on the ground but this was different.
"Husain Abdullah should not have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct following his fourth quarter touchdown," Signora said in an e-mail to Reuters on Tuesday.
"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," he added.