Raiders Get a Penalty for Thanking God

These Oakland Raiders have it pretty tough with the NFL referees. They get unsportsmanlike conduct penalties even when they behave like choirboys.

Raiders' cornerback Chris Johnson found that out the hard way after making a great play in yesterday's 29-6 Raider loss to the Texans.

With just 51 seconds left in the first half, the Texans were on the verge of scoring another touchdown before halftime. In footage still available online, Johnson made a fantastic leaping interception to rob Houston's Andre Johnson of the score.

After hauling in the throw, the Raiders' Johnson dropped to his knees and raised his hands to the heavens in a brief and innocuous display of his religious faith. It was one the most humble, classy and decent end zone celebrations you'll ever see.

The officials didn't like it one bit. They whistled Johnson for excessive celebration and a 15-yard penalty.

To clarify, Johnson did not wave his buttocks toward the crowd. He did not stomp on the other team's logo, he did not pull a magic marker out of his sock, and he did not attempt to get busy with a cheerleader. And he didn't even come close to tweeting anything.

But he dropped to his knees in a motion resembling prayer, and got nailed with a 15-yard penalty. "I'm just getting on my knees giving my respect to God," Johnson told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I don't see how that's a personal foul or anything like that."

Evidently, the NFL isn't just the "No Fun League." It's also the "No Faith League."

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is absolutely, positively filing this one into his "Raider conspiracy theories" dossier.

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