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Kurt Zouma's teammate has come out and questioned the public reaction to the video of him beating his cat.
Earlier this week, footage emerged of the French player volleying his cat across the kitchen before slapping it across the head.
Since the short video was released, the defender has come in for a deluge of criticism, with many saying he should be sacked.
The 27-year-old has also seen his sponsorship deal with Adidas cancelled and was fined £250,000 by his club over the incident.
Not only that, but the RSPCA also confirmed that the player's cats had been taken off him and were in their care.
A statement from the charity read: "The two cats are now in RSPCA care. Our priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats.
"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."
Until today, no comment had been made by any of Zouma's teammates about the video.
However, striker Michail Antonio has now addressed the incident, and has questioned the level of public outrage.
Speaking to Sky Sports News in the video below, the 31-year-old said he didn't condone what Zouma did but that it was strange people were calling for him to lose his job when other players had been allowed to play on after being convicted of racism.
When asked about the level of punishment for Zouma, Antonio said: "I’ve got a question for you. Do you think what he’s done is worse than racism?"
The reporter then interjects, saying they are 'two different things', but the player continues.
He goes on: "I’m not condoning a thing that he’s done. I don’t agree with what he’s done, at all.
"But there’s people that have been convicted and caught for racism and have played football afterwards.
"They got punished, 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 done worse than what people have done that have been convicted for racism?"
Over 275,000 have signed a petition demanding that the player be prosecuted for the video.
After the footage emerged, Zouma, who is an ambassador for a French animal charity, said: "I want to apologise for my actions. There are no excuses for my behaviour, which I sincerely regret.
"I also want to say how deeply sorry I am to anyone who was upset by the video. I would like to assure everyone that our two cats are perfectly fine and healthy.
"They are loved and cherished by our entire family, and this behaviour was an isolated incident that will not happen again."
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