By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
The West Ham defender, Kurt Zouma, has had his two pet cats taken into the custody of the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) following videos on social media which showed him kicking and slapping one of them.
The RSPCA is liaising with Essex Police regarding this incident.
Zouma has been fined by his club £250,000, which will be donated to animal welfare charities. Further sanctions may be imposed upon him following the outcome of the police investigation.
The club, and, in particular, the Manager, David Moyes, has been criticised for selecting Zouma to play against Watford on 8 February, putting the interests of football above this incident, which has resulted in an on-line petition, signed by more than 150,000 people, calling for the player to be prosecuted.
Former England international and football pundit, Gary Lineker, called this decision to play Zouma as a “tone-deaf decision”.
Several of the players’ and the club’s sponsors, including ADIDAS, have ended or suspended their sponsorships.
The club has expressed its “condemnation” of the player’s actions and that he is “extremely remorseful” about them.
The club’s supporters consider that Zouma should have been suspended pending the outcome of the club’s and the police investigations!