David Moyes has pleaded for forgiveness for Kurt Zouma following the West Ham defender’s shameful abuse of his pet 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 Hammers boss Moyes, who says he can “look himself in the mirror” for still picking the player, hopes he can be rehabilitated like a drink-driver.
“We all make mistakes in life. The boy is incredibly remorseful. He’s incredibly upset at what he did – he did a terrible thing,” said Moyes.
“But if it’s the case that there’s no forgiveness, then… we’ve all made mistakes and we’ll all continue to make mistakes in life.
“We have to give people opportunities. He said he got it wrong, made a big mistake, so I’m hoping people will see it in a different way and see it with forgiveness.
“The club are doing everything they possibly can. We’ll send him to the RSPCA who are going to help him, just like if somebody had a drink-driving offence, we’d get them help.
“We’d hope those people would get better and never do that again.”
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.
The 27-year-old’s brother Yoan has been told he can no longer play for his club, Dagenham, until the RSPCA has completed its probe.
But Moyes has confirmed Zouma will be available to face Leicester on Sunday, and added: “If you think missing the game is the answer, then would you know how many games you’d say he should miss? What would you think be the right number?
“I think the financial side is as heavy as the club can give. I hope that the charities will benefit greatly from it. At the moment we’ve just come through a pandemic where the charities have struggled.
“I wish this situation had never happened. I wish we weren’t even talking about this. But if any good is going to come out of this, then they are going to get a substantial money, the charities.
“I can understand the public’s opinion. But I’m also one of the public. I see myself as a football supporter, a human being.
“I understand where everybody else is with this, I really do. I can’t condone it, what he’s done. But as a football club, and me as a football manager, we are doing what we see fit.”