‘I Looked at Him Like a Friend’

Jay Bothroyd puts good times with playboy Saadi Gaddafi, son of dead Libya tyrant Colonel Gaddafi, behind him – Telegraph: “People who don’t know him might say he’s like this or like that or like his dad, but I’ve never seen that. I looked at him like a friend.”

In what may be the best unintentionally funny sportswriting of the year, The Telegraph has a long interview with striker Jay Bothroyd — who scored his first goal of the year in Sunday’s loss — in which Bothroyd innocently brushes aside the drinking and carousing he did with Saadi al-Qaddafi, the profligate and mostly estranged (for his bad behavior) son of the deposed and now-dead Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi.

Bothroyd said Saadi invited him to Grand Prix races, flew him to Italy for parties and, in a standout gesture no doubt funded by the still-aggrieved Libyan people, paid for Bothroyd’s honeymoon in Los Angeles and Hawaii.

“His dad is obviously a tyrant and he dictated over his countrymen through fear but Saadi was never like that,” Bothroyd said, apparently without irony. “He was always friendly and polite.”

Saadi al-Qaddafi is the second-oldest Qaddafi son and stood out from some of his siblings because of his vanity soccer career — he appeared in two Serie A games in four seasons — and because of his flamboyant, ambiguously sexual, seems-like-Trey-Parker-and-Matt-Stone-made-it-up lifestyle. His behavior was not as bad as his brother Hannibal, whose violent attack on two servants in Switzerland led to his arrest and his father’s cartoonish suggestion that the Swiss be abolished, but it still deserves censure and perhaps a healthy dose of forensic accounting.

Saadi was in Libya for most of the recent civil war, was in direct command of military units and is widely believed to have been behind the strategy of engaging rebel forces on a small-unit scale to avoid NATO airstrikes, though it is unlikely the Libyan military possessed any other capability. He has since decamped to Niger, where he awaits an uncertain future and the potential execution of an Interpol warrant for his arrest — if not a real execution by baseball-cap-wearing, disgruntled Libyans.

Bothroyd is forgiving, however.

“It’s all politics and I don’t really know about it,” Bothroyd said. “I just know that innocent people should never get hurt.”