Michail Antonio of West Ham has questioned the reaction to Kurt Zouma ‘s cat-kicking incident, asking, “Is it worse than players convicted of racism?”
The RSPCA took away Zouma’s cats after a horrific video of him beating, dropping, and kicking his animals over his kitchen floor surfaced on Monday.
The 27-year-old West Ham defender apologized, but Essex Police announced “urgent investigations” were ongoing in collaboration with the RSPCA.
West Ham has fined Zouma two weeks’ pay, which will be donated to animal welfare groups, and Adidas has withdrawn the player as a client.
In France, the 30 Million Friends Foundation, an animal rights organization, criticized the “heinous deed” and demanded that Zouma be removed from the national squad.
When asked about his reaction to the Zouma scenario, Antonio stated: “I have a question for you. Do you believe what he’s done is more heinous than racism?”
“I’m not condoning a thing that he’s done. I don’t agree with what he has done at all.
“But there’s people that have been convicted and been caught for racism, and have played football afterwards. They got an eight-game punishment or something like that, but people are now calling for people to be sacked and to lose their livelihood.”
“I’ve just got to ask this question to everyone out there: is what he’s [Zouma] done worse than what the people convicted of racism done?”
West Ham initially criticized Zouma’s actions after the video surfaced, but they supported manager David Moyes’ decision to start him against Watford on Tuesday night.
Moyes has stated that Zouma will be available for selection until the club’s internal investigation is completed.
“Our priority is and has always been the welfare of these cats,” said an RSPCA representative.
“They’ve been transported to the vet for a check-up and will stay in our custody while the investigation continues.
“We appreciate everyone who voiced care for these kitties. We were working with this problem before the video became public, and we are now in charge of the inquiry.
“We are still investigating, therefore we cannot say further at this time.”
West Ham United has confirmed that it would continue to assist the RSPCA in its inquiry.
Outrage – Cat Incident vs Racism: Which carries a harsher penalty?
Here is what Kick It Out CEO has to say in regard to this;
“Zouma’s behaviour was clearly unacceptable and I’m sure the RSPCA will thoroughly investigate and update the public in due course.
“We have seen some people draw comparisons between animal cruelty and discriminatory abuse. Both are incorrect and ineffective – victims are not in competition with one another.
“With any incident of abuse, there should be a fair process and those actions should have consequences. However, consequences should not be interpreted as complete cancellation. For some people, no punishment is ever enough and comparing incidents will always divide opinion.”Tony Burnett, CEO of Kick It Out.