Wayne Rooney was reportedly interrupted by a World Cup official while discussing aspects of his Catholic faith.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, England striker Rooney was prevented from sharing more about his faith as he answered a question in an off-camera briefing about why he wears a cross and rosary beads around his neck outside of official matches. Rooney has often been seen sporting the religious items during training.
He told the newspaper: “I’ve been wearing them for about four years now and you don’t usually watch training (to see them). I obviously can’t wear them in games. It’s my religion.”
The newspaper reports that before another question could be asked, Mark Whittle, the Football Association’s head of media relations, interrupted by saying: “We don’t do religion.”
The parallels to Alastair Campbell’s “We don’t do God” remark will not be missed by Christians. The former director of strategy and communications interrupted then Prime Minister Tony Blair with the comment before he could reply to a question from a reporter about his Christian faith.
FIFA, the World Cup’s organizing body, has outlawed athletes from wearing clothing carrying political, religious or personal statements. FIFA’s move blocks Christian athletes from proclaiming the name of Jesus on air after scoring goals and winning games.
England faces Algeria Friday.