Thursday, February 29

West Ham United defender Kurt Zouma filmed kicking and slapping cat

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.

“I would like to assure everyone that our two cats are perfectly fine and healthy. They are loved and cherished by our entire family. This behavior was an isolated incident that will not happen again.”

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.

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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.

In a statement to CNN on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) — the UK’s leading animal welfare charity — said: “This is a very upsetting video. It’s never acceptable to kick, hit or slap an animal, for punishment or otherwise.

“We are so grateful to people who report suspected animal suffering to us and we would like to reassure people we will always look into and, if necessary, investigate any complaints made to us about animal welfare.”

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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