By Hannah Ryan, CNN, and Reuters
Kurt Zouma is a defender for Premier League club West Ham United.
Footage of West Ham United defender Kurt Zouma kicking and slapping a cat has emerged online, leading the French center-back to issue an apology and the Premier League club to condemn the video content, according to Reuters.
In a video first published by the Sun newspaper Monday, Zouma is filmed seemingly hurling shoes at a cat in what looks to be a private residence, slapping it across the face, chasing it around the room and kicking it across the floor. Laughter can be heard in the background of the footage. CNN has not independently verified the video.”
West Ham United unreservedly condemns the actions of our player, Kurt Zouma, in the video that has circulated,” the Premier League club said in a statement, Reuters reports.
“We have spoken to Kurt and will be dealing with the matter internally, but we would like to make it clear that we in no way condone cruelty towards animals.”
Zouma has also issued an apology, the Sun and Reuters report.
“I want to apologize for my actions. There are no excuses for my behavior, which I sincerely regret. I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video,” the former Chelsea defender said.
West Ham and Zouma’s representatives did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.Zouma, photographed on the pitch for West Ham, has apologized for the footage.
The first video clip — in which Zouma appears to kick the animal across the kitchen — is accompanied by the caption “sa commence” in French, which translates to “it is starting.” The captions for the other clips feature laughing emojis.
According to the Sun, it was posted to Snapchat on Sunday afternoon — a day after Zouma made an appearance for West Ham in an FA Cup match.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) — the UK’s leading animal welfare charity — said in a statement: “The two cats are now in RSPCA care. Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats.”They’ve been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues.”
We’re grateful to everyone who expressed their concern for these cats. We were dealing with this issue before the video went viral online and are leading the investigation.”
We continue to investigate so we cannot comment further at this time.”Maheta Molango, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), has described Zouma’s actions as “not acceptable.” The PFA is the trade union for professional footballers in England and Wales.”
It is not for us to discipline him… it is for the employer to discipline him, but I think our role is to say to [the] player the truth, which is this type of behavior is not acceptable,” Molango told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee on Tuesday.
“It is not acceptable at all, with or without [a] camera. It’s not just a question of because it’s visible then it’s bad. It’s just bad. Full stop and it shouldn’t be happening.” I haven’t seen the video, but I’ve read that he has apologized, which hopefully is a sign of him acknowledging that this type of behavior is not acceptable.”
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