A Saudi soccer player could be punished for 'dabbing'

A player for Saudi Arabian club Al Nojoom is apparently in trouble after his “dab” was caught on camera during a King’s Cup match against Al Wahda on Wednesday.

The player, who was wearing a substitute’s bib, was offered a high-five by a teammate on the bench, but instead, with a mischievous smile on his face, chose to dab:

Innocuous enough, right?

For viewers around the world, yes. But not in Saudi Arabia.

Dabbing is more than frowned upon in the Middle Eastern nation; it’s strongly condemned. In the U.S., it’s simply a dance move – once that has roots in Atlanta hip-hop – but in Saudi society, it’s seen as connected to drug use. According to the Saudi Gazette, a government committee has said that a dab suggests sniffing drugs.

The committee apparently cited a journal article, from a magazine called Pediatrics, entitled “Assessing the Dangers of ‘Dabbing’: Mere Marijuana or Harmful New Trend?” The article supposedly investigated dabbing as a trendy way to use marijuana or inhale other drugs.

The committee released this anti-dabbing poster:

The Saudi Interior Ministry’s National Commission for Combating Drugs published a poster last year that warns against dabbing. (h/t BBC)

There’s no word yet on any fall-out from the dab that was caught on camera, but in the past, soccer players and other public figures have been warned. A Saudi singer was arrested for dabbing on stage.

The Saudi Arabian soccer federation could apparently sanction the player itself, even if no serious punishment is handed down from more powerful authorities.

Here’s more on Saudi Arabia’s “war on dabbing.”