Sports

David Moyes, West Ham ripped for starting defender Kurt Zouma after disturbing cat video

A few hours after West Ham defender Kurt Zouma apologized for his behavior in a social media video showing him abusing his pet cat, few believed he’d actually feature for his club given the public outcry.

But despite a statement condemning Zouma’s acts, which included kicking, hitting and throwing an object at his cat, West Ham and its manager David Moyes gave the Frenchman the start in a Feb. 8 Premier League home match against Watford at London Stadium. He went 90 minutes in a 1-0 victory.

West Ham is battling for a top-four finish in the Premier League, which would grant it a berth in next season’s lucrative UEFA Champions League competition. A home match against struggling Watford was a must-win in that chase and Moyes decided that having arguably his best defender in the lineup would only help the cause as his team came away with the shutout win.

MORE: What punishment could Zouma face?

But the move resulted in a media and public relations nightmare for Moyes and West Ham after the social media backlash in response to the decision to start Zouma.

According to The Athletic, Zouma is facing an internal disciplinary hearing to be conducted by the club. But instead of sitting Zouma in anticipation of the hearing, Moyes played him as if nothing had happened and the manager’s explanation prior to the match left some incredulous.

Fans, media critical of David Moyes, West Ham decision

The reaction to seeing Zouma’s name on the team sheet was met with disbelief for the perceived lack of accountability. How could West Ham not notice have noticed the fan outrage and uproar and put fan sentiment over competitive considerations on this occasion?

The pregame statement to media by manager David Moyes explaining his decision to start Zouma did nothing to help quell the criticism. Moyes gave the distinct impression that the matter did not rise to the level to require him to bench his top defender.

The spotlight was shining brightly on Zouma in the match and he was a target of the fans during the match:

And when Zouma went down injured, Watford fans immediately picked up on the irony:



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