Why, exactly, would John Key, the prime minister of New Zealand, accuse David Beckham of being "thick"?
Certainly, there is no factual evidence.
On the contrary, Beckham's career is hallmarked by shrewd decisions. He maximised a modest talent to carve a niche role within Manchester United, agitated for a big move to Real Madrid before he was found out, then scampered to the MLS while still young enough for US fans to feel flattered by the presence of a real footballer.
Opting to be a big fish in a small pond may be many things - conniving, cynical, arguably cowardly - but it is certainly not stupid.
So why did Key allegedly put the boot in?
One theory is that he was simply being thoughtless, repeating the cheap jibes of lazy comedians. He would not be the first politician to do so.
Or perhaps he was motivated by the bitterness of the politician towards the professional athlete. Adulation is heaped on men who run a field; scorn is reserved for those trying to run a country.
The most likely explanation is contained within the adage "familiarity breeds contempt".
Let's look at Key's career - he started out as a foreign exchange dealer (making the most of his modest talent), then secured a big overseas move to the galacticos of Merrill Lynch in New York.
And then? Well, he could have stayed in the "top flight" but chose to enter politics in a tiny nation in the Pacific Ocean. He became … well, not so much a big fish in a small pond as a big sheep on two small rocks. No wonder the Beckham tale touches a nerve.
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