Former Leeds United defender Olivier Dacourt thinks that Kurt Zouma should “continue to play football” after being filmed kicking and slapping his cat.
Zouma is continuing to play for the Hammers despite the public outcry, sponsors dropping the club and the player, and the RSPCA – which has confiscated his two cats – investigating the video of him kicking and slapping the animal.
The French defender will attend RSPCA courses and West Ham boss David Moyes, who says he can “look himself in the mirror” for still picking the player, said on Friday that he hopes Zouma can be rehabilitated like a drink-driver.
After handing him a place in the starting XI against Watford in their 1-0 last Tuesday, Moyes again picked Zouma against Leicester City last night before Zouma pulled out of the squad after feeling ill in the warm-up.
Zouma has been fined the maximum two weeks’ wages, which will go to animal charities, but there are still calls for him to be suspended while an online petition to get him prosecuted has topped 300,000 signatures.
However, former Leeds, Inter Milan and Everton defender Dacourt reckons that would be too harsh on the France international.
“I don’t want to defend what he did because it’s undefendable,” Dacourt explained to Canal+. “But at the same time, it’s a cat. He’s been condemned, he’s paid a fine, he’s lost his sponsors. He hasn’t killed anyone.
“He made a mistake, he paid for it but now he should continue to play football. I don’t see so many people on social media defending wives or children who have been abused, or racist discrimination.”
Speaking after Zouma withdrew from his squad on Sunday, Moyes told reporters: “He was ill before the game, but he was desperate to play and we wanted him to play.
“He was sick during the night – he stayed away from the players and didn’t eat much. He didn’t eat with us and he stayed away from the meeting.
“Once he got out there he didn’t think it was possible. It is a stomach bug – probably from something he has eaten. We told Issa Diop to be ready and he played really well.”
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