West Ham defender Kurt Zouma has apologized after he was filmed kicking and slapping his cat.
A video obtained by The Sun shows Zouma, 27, dropping the cat at chest height and kicking it when it lands. He then chases him around the living room, at one point throwing a pair of shoes at the cat, before slapping him.
Zouma’s brother uploaded the footage to Snapchat on Sunday afternoon.
A statement from West Ham said: “West Ham United unreservedly condemns the actions of our player, Kurt Zouma, in the video which has been circulated. We have spoken to Kurt and will address the issue internally, but would like to make it clear that we do not condone animal cruelty in any way.
Zouma added, “I want to apologize for my actions. There is no excuse for my behavior, which I sincerely regret. I also want to say how sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video.
“I want to assure everyone that our two cats are perfectly fine and healthy. They are loved and cherished by our entire family, and this behavior was an isolated incident that will not happen again.
“This is a very upsetting video. It is never okay to kick, hit or slap an animal, as punishment or otherwise,” an RSPCA spokesperson said.
“We are very grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us and would like to reassure people that we will always review and, if necessary, investigate any animal welfare complaints brought to us.”
A statement from Essex Police said: ‘We are aware of a video circulating on social media of an incident involving a cat which members of our communities may find distressing.
“We have recently been made aware that this incident may have taken place in Essex and we are liaising with the RSPCA and urgent inquiries are underway.”
Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Maheta Molango said: “It’s not for us to discipline him, it’s for the employer to do that, but our role is to tell the player that this type of behavior is not acceptable.
“I haven’t seen the video but I have read that he apologized which hopefully is a sign from him that this type of behavior is not acceptable.”
Zouma has made 15 appearances for West Ham this season, fresh from a hamstring injury which saw him miss 11 games.
Dagenham and Redbridge released a statement as Yoan Zouma, Kurt’s brother, filmed the video. They wrote: “Dagenham & Redbridge FC condemn the actions of our player Yoan Zouma in filming the video that has circulated of his brother, and his reactions to the events shown.
“Since becoming aware of the incident this morning, the club have had discussions with Yoan and we will now take some time to consider our response, which we will of course make public in due course.
“However, in the meantime, we would like to make it clear that we do not condone any form of animal cruelty in any way and take this matter very seriously.”
Yoan Zouma added: “I deeply regret my involvement in the video which has been widely circulated and I unreservedly apologize, not only for my actions, but for the upset and distress it has caused so many people.
“I now take the time to reflect on what I did, but I want to assure everyone that this was an isolated incident and not something I am proud of.”
(Photo: Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images)2