Social media users on the microblogging platform, Twitter have called out Adidas, German manufacturer of athletic shoes and apparel and sporting goods, over the termination of its deal with West Ham defender, Kurt Zouma.
Tweeps have also condemned the actions of his club, West Ham and their sponsors over the punishment meted out to Zouma, saying they could ruin his career. They alleged that it all boiled down to racism and hypocrisy.
In a viral video, Zouma was seen kicking his family cat and this had attracted public outrage.
Over 225,000 people signed an online petition on Change.org, started by Anti Animal Abuse, calling for Zouma to be prosecuted amid a growing public backlash.
Despite Zouma’s apology, his cats have been taken away by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Also, West Ham has fined the player two weeks wages – understood to be £250,000 – which will be donated to animal welfare charities.
West Ham’s partners, Vitality and Experience Kissimmee have both suspended their sponsorship following Zouma’s participation in the club’s game for the win against Watford on Tuesday night.
During the match on Tuesday, the footballer Kurt Zouma was booed by opposition supporters.
Meanwhile, Adidas that had a personal contract with Zouma announced that the embattled footballer is no longer associated with the company after “investigating the incident internally”.
A statement read: “We have concluded our investigation and can confirm Kurt Zouma is no longer an Adidas contracted athlete.”
Adidas had earlier said: “No animal should be subject to cruel and unwarranted abuse.”
However, some tweeps have said that Zouma was being punished so much because he was a black man as they compared his crime with the ones committed by other footballers against humanity which attracted lesser punishments.
Some of the tweets mentioned the case of Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, who kicked Swansea City ball boy named Charlie Morgan during a League Cup clash at the Liberty Stadium in January 2013.
Hazard had attempted to retrieve the ball from Morgan, who had fallen on top of it, and ended up kicking the youngster in the process. The teenager appeared to be in considerable pain as he trudged off the pitch holding his side.
Hazard insisted after the match, “The boy put his whole body on to the ball and I was just trying to kick the ball. I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologise.”
They also noted that Luis Suarez who has been described as the biggest villain in football had, on three occasions, bit opponents and his punishments were not as grievous as that of Zouma.
During the 2014 World Cup, Luis Suarez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in one of the games but was banned for nine games and sent home from the tournament.
The previous year, Suarez was suspended for 10 games for biting Chelsea’s Branislov Ivanovic on the arm during a game in 2013.
He also had a record of biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder during a 2010 game and was suspended for seven games.
Taking into consideration the infractions of the above-mentioned footballers while on the pitch, many are of the opinion that Zouma’s punishment was overboard though he was guilty of the crime of abuse of animals.
Some of them have also started signing petitions showing support for the footballer.
According to the signatories, Zouma can be fined, punished but it should be fair. They argued that the footballer has a life that must be protected.
As of the time of filing this report, it had garnered 630 signatories aiming at 1, 000.
Below are some reactions on Twitter:
Was John Terry stripped of his sponsorships for racially insulting black players. Yet @KurtZouma finds him self in hot water was kicking a cat. I guess he would be in prison by now if he ate the cat. #Notoracism #BlackLivesMatter #StopTheHateNow https://t.co/MgvN0GyxGL
— Laetitiaseo (@laetitiaseo) February 10, 2022
Adidas that uses pig and cow skin to do balls and boots is ending zouma's sponsorship. Did the animals gave them the skin willingly? Bomboclaats
Justice for Zouma#adidas #BlackLivesMatter #KurtZouma pic.twitter.com/npVfwevf1o
— Willy Fanas Mchelsea (@fanas_willy) February 10, 2022
A petition on change 🤔
'I believe he should be fined.
I believe he should be punished.
But it should be fair.
I draw the line at blatant shameful disgusting racists asking for his life to be ruined.
Kurt Zouma have a life, not to be abused or ridiculed.'
— Nikki 💚🤍💜 (@BromleyBeau) February 10, 2022
Harry Maguire attacked police in Greece- he is still captain of ManU.
Eden Hazard kicked a ball boy. Nobody said his life must be ruined.
Louis Suarez bite the arm of Ivanovic. Adidas never cancelled his deal.
But when a black man kicks a cat,
We must totally destroy his life.
— #OurFavOnlineDoc 🩺🇳🇬🇬🇧💎 (@DrOlufunmilayo) February 9, 2022
Kurt Zouma has been fined the sum of £250,000, had his Adidas deal cancelled, and could face 4years in a French prison for kicking his cat.
Eden Hazard kicked a 17year old ball boy, and got away with only 3 match ban.
Make of this whatever you want.
— Cross˚ (@Elkrosmediahub) February 9, 2022
Never heard of any sport brand withdrawing a player’s contract over racism. People got fined paltry sums for racist comments, Zouma gets fined £250k for kicking a cat. Has his adidas contract withdrawn. Virtue signalling. Nothing more. Zouma is wrong. The punishment? Overboard.
— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) February 9, 2022
Alonso killed someone with his car got about £60k fine- playing for Chelsea.
Marguire was convicted in Greece for assault and bribery still captain of Man U.
Suarez- £40k for racism
Meanwhile, Kurt Zouma is getting a £250k fine because he kicked a cat
— Emmanuel Adebisi (@DotmanAdebisi) February 10, 2022
If it were @HKane who did what @KurtZouma did , it wouldn’t have become an issue . But as u all know the English media target certain type of people. English media just doing what the English media does best. #BlackLivesMatterinEngland
— King Jukur (@king_jukur) February 9, 2022