Target: National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell
Goal: Issue apology to professional football player who was penalized for praying on the field
The National Football League (NFL) must immediately issue an apology to Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah, after he was penalized for “unsportsmanlike conduct” for sliding to his knees in prayer. Abdullah is a practicing Muslim and should be allowed the same privilege as Christian players. The sight of a player crossing himself is commonplace in the league and never draws a flag.
The NFL must immediately make clear to its officials that praying should be not penalized. The NFL rulebook states, “A celebration or demonstration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate or demonstrate after a warning from an official”—none of these preconditions occurred in the game.
Following the recent rash of scandals that have racked the NFL, you would imagine that it would be on the front foot in this situation. The organization must immediately come out and make a statement apologizing to Abdullah and open a rules committee regarding the celebration rule. By signing the petition below, you will be calling on the NFL to issue a public apology to Abdullah for punishing him for expressing his religious beliefs during a moment of celebration as well as urging the league to adjust its rules to help guarantee that players are never again penalized because of their religion.
Dear Commissioner Roger Goodell,
The unsportsmanlike conduct penalty given to Husain Abdullah for praying after scoring a touchdown is unacceptable. The NFL must immediately apologize to Abdullah for its discriminatory actions. In addition, I ask that the rule be reevaluated and potentially changed so that this mistake is not made again in the future.
Following the recent rash of scandals in the NFL, I would hope that your organization would be eager to get out in front of another potential one. Apologizing to Abdullah would show that the NFL supports religious freedom amongst its players and fans. I urge you to make the right decision for the NFL and issue an apology to Abdullah for penalizing him for a joyful celebration in which he inadvertently expressed his religious beliefs.
[Your Name Here]
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