Hamza’s excellent adventure

Posted by Darren Urban on August 14, 2011 – 2:29 pm

It took a moment for Hamza Abdullah to think of his biggest highlight of visiting the White House last Wednesday night, before flying cross country back to Oakland to play against the Raiders the next night.

But it came to him.

“This is the highlight,” the safety remembered. “Basically, his personal assistant came to me and said, his exact words, ‘The President cannot wait to meet you. And you’re actually sitting at his table.’ That was the quote of the night.

“He was like, ‘You didn’t know that, huh?’ And I said no, because I opened up my card and it said ‘Table 10.’ So it’s ‘OK, table 10.’ I figured my brother and I were sitting together, but Husain was like, ‘No, I’m at table 9.’ ”

Abdullah said there were just eight people at the table — “Very intimate” — and he and President Obama talked like they were old friends. “We’re just like two guys in the basement, talking about whatever they want to talk about,” Abdullah said. “He asked me about fasting when I am practicing, we talked about my brother. At one point, they were passing out the dessert and he said no, and the next two people said no, and the President said ‘Give it to the football player, you know he wants it.’ ”

Abdullah (That’s him in the picture below, on the far right, seated) did want the dessert, a sorbet wrapped in a tangerine. There were three courses, all told, “and I cleaned my plate on all of them.”

Abdullah landed in Washington D.C. at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and immediately decided he needed to buy a watch to go with his suit. After the side trip, he walked to the White House and the gates weren’t open quite yet, so he people-watched, looking at the delegates arrive in their fancy cars and seeing the tourists take everything in. “I was thinking, ‘This is a big deal, man,’ ” Abdullah said.

(Abdullah had heard about the Packers’ Desmond Bishop missing out on his White House chance because he forgot his ID. “That’s pretty cruel,” Abdullah said. “I told my wife, pack my birth certificate, my passport … I have my grade-school ID, just to make sure.”)

It wasn’t until after the game against the Raiders when he felt the experience had sunk in. Game day actually went smoothly, with Abdullah landing at 11:30 a.m. and getting to the hotel for a two-hour nap before needing to leave. He played a lot against Oakland too.

“Once-in-a-lifetime,” Abdullah said. “It was just so humbling. And I continue to say that because it’s something money can’t buy you. You’re not famous, it’s just something where, you are chosen. You feel blessed. The man has a million different things on his plate, but he’s relating to you.”

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14 Responses to “Hamza’s excellent adventure”

  1. By againstthegrain on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    to quote abdullah,”the man has a million different things on his plate but he’s relating to you” well maybe obama is relating to abdullah but that is only because they are both muslims and while there is nothing wrong with that there is something wrong when a leader such as obama can’t relate to the non-muslim taxpaying public. the reality is that if abdullah wasn’t a muslim he would be like the rest of us…. not invited to the white house and on the outside looking in.

  2. By fantasyfootball85204 on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    obama is a muslim extemist! why is he doing crazy stuff at the white house. that one dude looks like a terrorist lol but atleast there az card there. pretty illmatic

  3. By Darren Urban on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    Everyone making ridiculous statements against the President —

    RE: Iftar dinner

    Nice to know you guys are so informed. President Clinton was the one who started the Iftar dinner and George Bush continued it during his Presidency. President Obama did not create this. But don’t let the facts get in the way of whatever it is you are trying to say.

  4. By John the draft guy on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    Enjoyed the articles on the pass rush and Jefferson. AJ really came from no where as an undrafted FA who really had no shot at making the team to now starting. That’s hard work and dedication. Guys like that can be on my team everytime.

    But before we get too ahead of ourselves, we go see Aaron Rodgers and the World Champs friday. When they go 3 and 4 wide, it will be a great test on these young corners. Schofield and Acho better turn up the heat this week against 2 pretty good tackles. Can’t wait to see these matchups.

    Not to mention Levi Brown against Mathews. This is the perfect team to play in preseason and get an idea where you are at. Looking forward to friday.

  5. By Andre on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    That is so cool. He got to sit with the president. Awesome…

  6. By Chuck 1 on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    I hate to be the wet blanket here, BUT,
    Like many fans, I am concerned that our offensive and defensive lines and LBs (in particular) are not up to snuff and our offense will be playing catch-up in most games.

  7. By Brad O'Neill on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    Good for Hamza! man how can you not like a kid like that. for all the idiots saying Obama can’t relate to non Muslims I just have to shake my head. America is a melting pot, we are made up of the cast offs from every country in the world. the reason we kick so much A$$ is because we allow people the freedom to excel.

    America proves the spirit of free men can overcome and surpass any system that attempts to preserve power for a specific class or people. Watch the mighty Chinese crumble under their corruption, watch the socialists in Europe implode in a sea of mediocrity, watch and see as Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and those who worship the flying spaghetti monster all gather together and build something far greater than any could build alone.

    I know i know no politics. sorry back to football.

    I love the fact that Whiz was entirely supportive of the trip. I think he understands that life isn’t entirely about football which is rare for someone with his level of success in this sport. Go Cardinals good people can do great things, and this is a team full of good people.

  8. By Andre on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    I think the defensive line and middle linebackers are fine. The biggest concerns, in my opinion, are the OLB’s and OT’s on both sides. THAT is what bothers me the most. Can’t protect our QB from the outside and can’t go after the other QB’s from the outside. It makes me wonder how the coaches can get an accurate read from our OT’s and OLB’s when they both suck during practice. LOL

  9. By John the draft guy on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    Fortunately, we are in the right division.

  10. By Peter in Canada on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply

    I think it is great that Hamza got to go to the White House and enjoy dinner with the president. The unfortunate thing about it is that it invites negative political responses. I am forced to listen to so much political b.s. that I hoped that a football blog would be (should be) an escape from it.

    On a brighter note I have to agree with John the Draft Guy. The Packers will provide a very real test of where we are at and what me might need to do to shore up any weaknesses that are exposed. At least the tundra at Lambeau is unlikely to be frozen.

  11. By LANDLORD WE NEED PEACE on Aug 14, 2011 | Reply


    I must admit I enjoyed the article myself, but as a fan I would prefer to keep my excitement in reserve. Now if this team can translate what they do in practice
    to the field on gameday, then everybody else better watchout!

  12. By Rick 12 on Aug 15, 2011 | Reply

    One keeps hoping that ignorance and predjudice will give way to tolerance and understanding…….

    Always enjoy your writing Darren.

    It’s nice to see a rekindled team spirit in the air.

  13. By The X-Gasm on Aug 15, 2011 | Reply

    Glad Darren is the voice of reason here. People, your personal politics aside, meeting the President of the United States is an honor and you do this country a disservice by disrespecting the man we as a nation elected to office (not to mention by saying completely false things about him…read a book some time).

    Anyway, good for Hamza, now back to some football.

  14. By Eazy E on Sep 3, 2011 | Reply

    Obama is a christian, wth are y’all talking about?

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