West Ham United Should Have Dropped Kurt Zouma

West Ham United were quick to come out yesterday and condemn (BBC Sport) their centre-half Kurt Zouma after a video emerged showing the defender violently hitting his pet cat.

In the club’s statement they said:

“We have spoken to Kurt and will be dealing with the matter internally, but we would like to make it clear that we in no way condone cruelty towards animals.”

Via Sky Sports News

So it was surprising to see Zouma announced in the Hammers team to face Watford that same evening in a Premier League clash.

Playing him that night, without explaining what if any punishments had been served on the player seemed inappropriate given what they had said earlier in their statement.

Manager David Moyes came out afterwards and defended his decision to play the French internationalist:

“It’s something we’re all disappointed with and something we can’t understand.

“He’ll learn from it [but] today I had to pick a football team that gave me the best chance of winning the game as manager of West Ham.”

“I know how people feel, but I’m also a football manager here.”

Via BBC Sport

In some ways I do actually understand where Moyes is coming from. He’s right it’s a results driven industry and if results falter then it’s usually the manager who has to deal with the harsh consequences.

That being said it’s also the gaffer’s job to make sure that players know that they’re representing the club’s badge and name at all times, even in their own kitchens! If your behaviour doesn’t meet up to the standards expected by the club then you’ll be punished.

It may have been easier on the Hammers boss had fellow central defender Issa Diop not endured a torrid time against Kidderminster Harries in last weekend’s FA Cup tie.

But in truth the decision should’ve been taken out of David Moyes hands. The West Ham board should have suspended the player while a disciplinary meeting was being set up.

Now theoretically you could’ve probably held that disciplinary yesterday afternoon as the player was clearly guilty of bringing the club into disrepute. He was filmed committing the heinous act and he had already admitted his guilt. The PFA have also come out and stated “this type of behaviour is not acceptable” (Source Daily Express). It would then be down to the club to punish Zouma.

Now let’s say they wanted more time to evaluate the case and speak to their lawyers. Really in any other profession, you’d expect the person in question to be suspended from their workplace whilst that deliberation process was taking place.

Personally I’d was expecting West Ham to ban Zouma for at least one game (The one against Watford), fine him a few weeks wages and give that as a donation to an animal charity and order him to take some sort of anger management classes.

By playing the centre-back, I fear the football club have misread the tone of the situation and the reaction to Zouma’s cowardly actions. Fans and the wider community are upset and angry by what’s happened and by the fact he hasn’t been suitably punished (as yet).

Now some people will demand that the twenty-seven year old be sacked. I don’t think West Ham will or should go that far but I do think the RSPCA should definitely investigate the issue and take matters further. In an ideal world I’d also suggest that social services should question the household and make sure that it isn’t a violent environment for the player’s kids.

West Ham United owe it to their fans and their sponsors to show that they understand the feeling of the situation when events like these happen. They should have acted swiftly by punishing the player and by taking him out of the team last night it would’ve shown that club has their finger on the pulse, unfortunately they didn’t do that and they now look uncaring and/or incompetent.

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