The NFL Referees Association issued a statement Thursday criticizing the league for inconsistency in judging the accuracy of two controversial calls made recently: Husain Abdullah's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Monday night and Chris Baker's penalty for a hit on Nick Foles in Week 3.
Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was penalized after he slid to the ground and paused to pray following a interception return for a touchdown. The league said Tuesday that Abdullah should not have been penalized.
Baker drew a penalty for hitting Foles after an interception. The league later said Baker should not have been flagged and would not be fined.
According to the referees' union, however, the league graded both calls as correct in internal communications. The penalty on Abdullah was correct because he was not flagged for his prayer gesture, but rather for his slide, the union said. Despite the NFL's public statement that the call on Baker was incorrect, the league told the referees they were right to throw a flag, according to the union.
"In the last two weeks, two penalties that were called in games that drew national attention were publicly announced to be in error by the League office, however the Officiating Department later graded the calls as correct. This has caused confusion for NFL officials as to what the League does and doesn’t want called," the union's statement said, according to ProFootballTalk.
- Dan Gartland