Michail Antonio, a teammate of Kurt Zouma at West Ham, wonders if kicking a cat is worse than racism

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West Ham United forward, Michail Antonio has wondered if kicking a cat is worse than racism over how the kicking incident involving his teammate, Kurt Zouma is being over-flogged across board.

Kurt Zouma has been one of the most talked-about footballers in the world since a video surfaced on the internet earlier this week showing the footballer kicking and slapping a cat.

The video which was reportedly filmed by his brother, Yoan, a player at Dagenham & Redbridge, a National League club in England, has caused Zouma a lot of unprecedented problems so far despite releasing a public apology almost immediately the video went viral.

Even West Ham United have suffered from it especially after coach David Moyes decided to start him in a Premier League game between the team and Watford which ended in a 1-0 win in favor of West Ham.

For instance, the Premier League club lost their sponsorship deal with an insurance company, Vitality, and also lost their partnership deal with a destination company, Experience Kissimmee due to the cat-kicking incident.

As for Kurt Zouma, the 27-year-old French defender has had his two cats taken away from him by RSPCA over the incident. The animal rights body and the Essex Police in England are carrying out further investigation into the incident.

In the same vein, West Ham United have fined the player £250,000 which is believed to be his two weeks salary. Zouma has agreed to pay the fine which will be donated to animal welfare charities.

Amid that, sportswear making company, Adidas has announced the suspension of Zouma due to the incident.

As he is being battled in England for kicking and slapping his cat, he is also being battled in France due to the same incident. For instance, an animal rights group in France, 30 Million Friends Foundation is urging football authorities in the country to suspend Zouma from the national team over the incident.

The group is also pushing for a legal suit to be filed against the player amid an online petition against Zouma seeking to prosecute the Frenchman over the cat-kicking incident.

In an interview recently, Michail Antonio was asked to comment on Zouma’s cat-kicking scandal, the 31-year-old Jamaican footballer admitted that the action of the Frenchman was wrong but wondered if racism would have generated the same reaction as the cat-kicking scandal.

Michail Antonio said: “I’ve got a question for you. Do you think what he’s done is worse 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 are people that have been convicted and been caught for racism and have played football afterward. 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?”

Meanwhile, National League club, Dagenham & Redbridge has suspended Zouma’s brother Yoan for allegedly filming the cat-kicking incident and uploading it on the internet.

Zouma's brother Yoan who reportedly filmed the cat-kicking incident.
Zouma’s brother Yoan who reportedly filmed the cat-kicking incident.

In a statement the club released recently, the club said Zouma’s brother is cooperating with the RSPCA investigation.

“Yoan was this week contacted by the RSPCA to assist in their investigation and is fully cooperating with them”, the club’s statement read.

“However, Dagenham & Redbridge FC would again like to reiterate that it condemns any form of cruelty towards animals and fully understands the reaction of many of its supporters.

“The club has therefore decided that until the RSPCA has completed its investigations, Yoan will not play for Dagenham & Redbridge in any competitive match.

“Any further action deemed necessary to be taken will be made after the RSPCA investigation.”

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