How to link the war in Ukraine to football and the Oscar swatter – POLITICO

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly humor column.

Unexpected events triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine Part 428: A small English football club went out of business afterwards blame its owners violating sanctions against Moscow, as well as “environmental crimes, price-fixing, deforestation, forced evictions, human rights abuses, child labor, slavery, gender discrimination and murder.” I thought these things were mandatory for people who own football clubs!

Staines Town FC said the reason for the closure was so authorities could investigate and prove “without a reasonable doubt” that its owner Downing – a capital markets company – does not finance slavery.

Downing has denied that “wild allegations“ from the club.

When and when the football club in Staines – one of the UK’s funniest place names, up there with Schitterton, twatt, Wetwang and roosters – gets back on track, his fans are certainly bound to invent a patio chant with that list of alleged crimes, and if they do they should win the Champions League as a reward.

Much less unexpected (crushingly predictable, actually) was that politicians took the Oscars debacle into account. I know the first thing we all thought after seeing the footage was, “I wonder what Simon Hoare, the British Conservative MP, thinks of this remarkable turn of events?” Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long wait to get Hoare’s opinion as he tweeted: “I would only hope that if anyone thought it in good taste to make a joke at the expense of my wife’s illness, then I would get up and light it.” Lamp, to non-British readers, means to strike with some force.

At least Hoare wasn’t trying to make a tenuous connection between the Oscars and the invasion of Ukraine. Unfortunately, not everyone could resist this temptation, including Indian actor and politician Paresh Rawal, who tweeted that comedians “are in danger everywhere, be it Chris or Zelenskyj”.

Obviously, slapping the fresh Prince of Bel-Air in the face and invading your country are on quite different ends of the suffering spectrum. That said, when this senseless war is over and the dust has settled – literally and metaphorically – who among us wouldn’t go and see a big-budget film in which Chris Rock stars Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Will Smith is Vladimir Putin (maybe Steven Seagal can play Simon Hoare)?

If anyone in Hollywood is reading I can have a first draft of the script by Monday!


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Paul Dalison is POLITICS‘s slot news editor. How to link the war in Ukraine to football and the Oscar swatter - POLITICO

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