English Footballer Prevented From Mentioning Religion
Date of incident: June 17, 2010
Category: Social Hostility / Intolerance
Attack against: Faith
Area of case: Media
A Football Association official prevented a prominent footballer for England’s World Cup team from talking about his Christian faith to reporters during a press conference.Wayne Rooney, striker for the English national team, was prevented from talking about his religion during an off-camera World Cup press conference.
Rooney willingly answered a question regarding the prominent cross and rosary beads he wears around his neck when he's not playing.
He said, "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."
His remark prompted a reporter to ask a further question regarding Rooney’s faith. But Mark Whittle, head of media relations for the Football Association, cut short any response from Rooney, saying: "We don't do religion."
Whittle's interruption was reminiscent of Alastair Campbell’s curt reply, "We don't do God", by which he silenced then-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s response to a reporter’s question about Blair’s Christian faith.