Opinion – Marina Izidro: Kicking the cat can; lose the game, no

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The images are shocking. A 1.90m tall strong man walks into the kitchen of his mansion with a cat on his lap. He lets go of the animal and kicks it in the belly, as if it were a soccer ball. The animal, helpless, flies away.

Cruelty continues in the room. The same man runs after the animal and throws a tennis shoe at it. Then he slaps the cat hard on the head while a child holds it. Once again, he runs away in desperation. All the while, laughter can be heard in the background. Laughing face emojis appear on the screen.

The citizen in question is called Kurt Zouma, defender of West Ham. If you want to look up the video on the internet, be careful before watching. The scenes, supposedly made by the player’s brother and shared on a social network, are stomach-churning.

When The Sun reported the case earlier this week, the backlash, of course, was immediate. Police have begun investigating, and an online petition calling for the French defender to be prosecuted already has more than 280,000 signatures. More than imbecility, this kind of cruelty is against the law. In the UK, those who mistreat animals can face up to five years in prison.

Zouma followed the script of the public person who did something wrong and then realized he got it wrong: he apologized, said that the two cats are loved by the family, that this was an isolated act that will never be repeated. Very hard to believe.

It’s impossible not to imagine what might have happened to these animals when no one was filming. Also, sharing the video on social media and thinking that someone else might find it funny shows a striking disconnect from reality.

Adidas has already announced the end of the sponsorship contract with the 27-year-old player. In England, fans, politicians and representatives of organizations in defense of animals showed indignation and even asked for him to leave West Ham. The most important part: the cats, of the Bengal breed, are in a safe place and were removed from Zouma’s house. .

The scenes of ill-treatment also generated revolt in France. France’s biggest animal protection organization wants the defender no longer to be called up for the national team and has called on its lawyers. The penal code allows a French citizen to be prosecuted for acts committed in another country.

West Ham’s reaction was less than expected. The club, for now, protects one of its most valuable athletes. He published an official statement condemning Zouma’s attitude and fined him £250,000 or nearly R$1.8 million – a fortune for most of us, but just two weeks’ salary for the player, according to the English press.

And the day after the video was published, what did coach David Moyes do? He selected the athlete as a starter for the match against Watford in the Premier League and justified himself by saying that he needed the best 11 on the field. That is, kicking a cat can. Lose the game, no.

The shot backfired. Zouma was booed when he touched the ball, and sponsors have already suspended contracts with the club. The case has grown so much in the last few hours that West Ham executives now have to think about how they will deal from now on with a player with a damaged image who has a contract until 2025. A great way to measure a person’s character is by the way he she treats animals.

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