U.K. soccer player Kurt Zouma fined for animal abuse caught on video : NPR

    Kurt Zouma, a French soccer player who plays in the English Premier League, is facing a series of consequences after the publication of a disturbing video showing him abusing animals.

    In the short clip, which has been repeatedly shared on twitter and other social media, zouma can be seen picking up and then kicking a cat, throwing shoes at it and punching it in the face, all while laughter can be heard in the background. The clip was first posted by Zouma’s brother on Snapchat on Sunday, according to The Sun, which first reported the footage earlier this week.

    Reading: British soccer player fined for abusing cat

    Following the video’s release, Zouma, who plays for Premier League club West Ham United, apologized and assured the public that there were “no excuses” for what he had done, according to a statement sent to various outlets of communication.

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    “I also want to say how sorry I am to everyone who was upset by the video,” Zouma said. “I would like to assure everyone that both of our cats are perfectly fine and healthy. Our entire family loves and appreciates them, and this behavior was an isolated incident that will not happen again.”

    in a statement of its own, west ham united confirmed that both the club and zouma are cooperating with an investigation by the royal society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (rspca), an animal welfare charity based in the UK. The club fined Zouma the maximum penalty, more than $338,000, according to NBC Sports, with the player and West Ham agreeing that the funds will be donated to animal welfare charities. Zouma has also handed over his family’s two cats to the rspca for evaluation.

    “Kurt is extremely remorseful and, like everyone at the club, fully understands the depth of feeling surrounding the incident and the need to take action,” the club said.

    fans demand action as video spreads

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    After the video spread online, many people began tagging the rspca twitter account, prompting a response from the organization, which confirmed that it is investigating the incident and was doing so even before the video “went viral”. In the meantime, the two cats are in the care of the rspca, the organization said.

    “We are a charity, but we need to act similarly to the police in the way we investigate any matter, following proper legal process,” the rspca said in a separate statement. “Investigations don’t end overnight, and there’s often behind-the-scenes work that we can’t update people on.”

    The fallout for zouma has been swift. In a statement to NPR, adidas confirmed that it has ended its sponsorship of Zouma following the release of the video and its own investigation.

    vitality, a uk-based investment and insurance company, said in a statement on twitter that the zouma video left the company “distressed”. The firm subsequently suspended its sponsorship of the team, citing not only Zouma’s behavior but the “judgment” displayed by the club.

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    vitality’s statement may refer to the team’s decision to have zouma as the starting player in their first game after the video’s release. that move led to more criticism of the team, as well as more fallout. Experience Kissimmee, another West Ham United sponsor, called Zouma’s place on the starting line “discouraging” in a statement shared via Twitter and said he will assess his relationship with the team.

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