'Is it worse than racism?': Michail Antonio hits back at Kurt Zouma critics
- Kurt Zouma was fined £250,000 by West Ham
- Adidas cancelled sponsorship deal with Zouma
- Zouma, however, continues to play for West Ham
West Ham forward Michail Antonio has raised a question in reaction to the Kurt Zouma cat-kicking incident, asking if it is "worse than players convicted of racism?".
RSPCA has taken Zouma's cats into their custody after a video emerged of him hitting, dropping, and kicking his pet across his kitchen floor went viral on Monday.
In the wake of criticism, 27-year-old West Ham defender issued an apology but Essex Police confirmed that "urgent enquiries" were underway in conjunction with the RSPCA.
West Ham, meanwhile, fined Zouma £250,000 which will be donated to animal welfare charities.
The footballer has also lost his sponsorship deal with Adidas.
In France, animal rights group the 30 Million Friends Foundation condemned the "heinous act" and called for Zouma to be suspended from the national team.
Asked about the reaction of the Zouma kicking cats, Antonio responded, "I've got a question for you. Do you think what he's done is worse than racism?"
"I'm not condoning a thing that he's done. I don't agree with what he has done at all.
"But there's people that have been convicted and been caught for racism, and have played football afterwards. They got an eight-game punishment or something like that, but people are now calling for people to be sacked and to lose their livelihood.
"I've just got to ask this question to everyone out there: is what he's [Zouma] done worse than what the people convicted of racism done?"
West Ham manager David Moyes, however, said Zouma would remain available for selection while the club's internal investigation ran its course.
"Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats," an RSPCA spokesperson said.
"They've been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues.
"We're grateful to everyone who expressed their concern for these cats. We were dealing with this issue before the video went viral online and are leading the investigation.
"We continue to investigate so we cannot comment further at this time."
West Ham United confirmed the club is continuing to support an RSPCA investigation.