After scoring the first goal in Sunderland’s 2-1 defeat to Wolves last Sunday (4th Dec), with new manager Martin O’Neill watching, Kieran Richardson peeled away from the goal and took off his Sunderland shirt to reveal a t-shirt bearing the slogan “I belong to Jesus”.
This is, of course, the same slogan that Brazilian forward Kaka famously wore on his t-shirt in the Champions League final (whilst playing for Milan). The Brazilian team is known for their public displays of faith and before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, they were told by FIFA to stop. British players are usually much more reticent about declaring their faith in overt ways, with a few notable examples.
I had not heard about Richardson’s faith before, but I tend not to listen much to Sunderland players! Some web forums have speculated that this t-shirt was not a declaration of faith rather than a show of support for the Brazilian player Socrates, who was ill at the time of the match and who died a day or two later. But in my opinion that would be an odd way to show support. Perhaps he is genuinely expressing his faith?