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'Is what Zouma has done worse than racism?' - Antonio asks question in response to calls to sack West Ham defender following release of cat abuse video

12:49 SAST 2022/02/10
Kurt Zouma Michail Antonio West Ham 2021-22
The defender's West Ham team-mate is eager to point out that there are bigger issues for sport and society to address

Kurt Zouma has been punished by West Ham and lost a sponsorship deal with Adidas following the release of a video showing him kicking and hitting a cat, but West Ham team-mate Michail Antonio is eager to point out that racism in sport and society remains a much bigger issue that needs to be addressed.

France international defender Zouma has sparked uproar over his actions revealed on social media, with family pets taken away from him by the RSPCA, and there have been calls for his contract to be ripped up in east London.

The matter has not gone that far as yet, although further sanctions could follow, and Antonio believes a similar response needs to be shown when individuals indulge in acts of social discrimination.

Watch: Antonio interview about Zouma cat outrage

What has been said?

West Ham striker Antonio told Sky Sports when asked about Zouma: “I’ve got a question for you – do you think what he has done is worse than racism?

“I’m not condoning a thing that he has done. I don’t agree with what he has done at all. But, there are people that have been convicted and caught for racism and have played football afterwards.

“I have got to ask this question to everyone now – is what he has done worse than what the people have done that are convicted for racism?”

The bigger picture

Zouma said in a statement after a disturbing video in which he figures prominently was posted online: "I want to apologise for my actions. There are no excuses for my behaviour, which I sincerely regret.

"I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video. I would like to assure everyone that our two cats are perfectly fine and healthy.

"They are loved and cherished by our entire family, and this behaviour was an isolated incident that will not happen again."

His cats were later rescued by the RSPCA, while Adidas announced that it had dropped the 27-year-old from its roster, but Zouma did figure in David Moyes’ starting XI for a 1-0 Premier League win over Watford on Tuesday.

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