LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The father of a Kansas City Chiefs safety spoke out Tuesday, a day after Husain Abdullah was penalized for dropping to his knees in prayer in the end zone.
"I watched the ref. He eased the flag and threw it, and I thought that's not a very good call," Yusuf Johnwell, Abdullah's father, told KCAL9's Erica Nochlin.
Johnwell said he spoke with his son by morning and said he knows Abdullah wasn't just celebrating but was being appreciative.
He said that's how he raised him since he was a star football player at Pomona High School.
On Tuesday, via Twitter, Abdullah stayed positive and said, "I appreciate the overwhelming love and support flowing from all over the world."
Meanwhile, the NFL said Tuesday that its referees erred in penalizing Abdullah, a move the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles praised.
"We shouldn't play the victim card, especially for a football game," said Salam Al-Marayati, the president of the MPAC. "We should thank the NFL for setting the record straight and making it clear that they are not against any kind of religious expression."
Al-Marayati said he awarded Abdullah personally in 2012 for taking the season off from the NFL to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, which is being commemorated this week.
"You've got to go with the flow when you are in the NFL, which is understood. Our children are not arrogant. They are not there to belittle anyone. They are there to do a job and that's his job," said Johnwell of Abdullah.
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