On BBC Breakfast, former goalkeeper Chris Kirkland compared Zouma’s animal abuse to racism, he consequently received criticism.
Football London’s West Ham journalist, Tom Clark, has received multiple abusive messages online for reporting on the Zouma situation. He took a short break from Twitter as a result, this is also shocking to hear.
What Antonio said has also sparked debate, his argument is the reaction to what Zouma has done has spiralled out of control. Those that disagree cite “whataboutery” but what Antonio’s point suggests is doesn’t the, as he perceives overreaction, highlight that more can be done against an issue like racism if this is the level we go to over one man hurting a cat. He asks ‘where is this amount of uproar, debate and punishment for other bigger controversies?’
The dreadful behaviour from the player has caused animal abuse to come to the forefront of everybody’s minds and get some needed press coverage, that is a positive.
Financial – Sponsors pull out
As stated previously, Zouma will no longer be an Adidas athlete, Vitality UK has suspended their sponsorship deal with West Ham and Experience Kissimmee have cut ties too. This will damage the club financially and there will be a question mark over another business choosing to sponsor West Ham, despite them being an attractive advertising board, due to Zouma being a part of the club.
Some fans on Twitter replied to Experience Kissimmee’s tweet about them withdrawing saying they promote Sea World on their website, where of course, animals are kept away from their natural habitat. Also, more were critical of Adidas who stood by Luis Suarez after racism allegations. But for any business to be associated with West Ham at the moment it isn’t the best look.
In the long-term if West Ham wanted to sell Zouma, would the once fan favourite be able to find another club and would the fee be reduced due to him now being so universally unpopular?
Not the first time a footballer will get away with it
But this is far from the first time a footballer has done something disgraceful and has carried on playing – not saying it’s correct but it has happened. To name a few, Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso was the driver of a car in a fatal accident in his native Spain, he was driving 70mph in a 30mph zone, crashing and colliding with a young women who died. Spurs and France captain, Hugo Lloris, was found guilty of drink driving being twice over the limit. His then manager stated he never even considered dropping him. Man United captain Harry Maguire was arrested for assaulting someone in a nightclub. The list goes on – all continue to play like nothing has happened. These incidents don’t make what Zouma did or West Ham’s decision to play him okay but instead it highlights the lack of morals football has.
What will happen to Mason Greenwood following those terrible allegations and audio clips is unknown but another example is Scottish side Raith Rovers, within the last month signing David Goodwillie, who in a civil case, was found guilty of rape.
What will happen now?
The chaos will continue. West Ham are carrying out an internal investigation, what the club will find and choose to do will be interesting. The Hammers face Leicester on Sunday and if Zouma played less than 24 hours after this disgusting video spread across the internet, there is little doubt the number four will play again.
Expect Zouma to be booed heavily for the rest of this season and for this story to rumble on for many more months. However, a PR based narrative will come from every move as West Ham no doubt attempt to sweep this under the carpet, move on and hope we all forget. All while, animal rights activists will attempt to do the opposite. The media, who are responsible for bringing this all to light, will soon be able to report on another case of a footballer doing something awful then attention and outrage will turn to the next thing, it’s how it works. We will have to wait and see what the scrutiny will be over the next scandal in order to come to a conclusion on whether there’s been an overreaction to what Zouma has done or not.