West Ham player Kurt Zouma, 27, has been dropped by his sponsor Adidas only two days after a video surfaced in which the French footballer was seen hitting his pet cats in his kitchen.
â€œWe have concluded our investigation and can confirm Kurt Zouma is no longer an Adidas contracted athlete,â€ Adidas said.
The sportswear company had earlier said that â€œNo animal should be subject to cruel and unwarranted abuse.â€
Since the release of the video, the player has been at the receiving end of social media backlash, with more than 150,000 people having signed an online petition calling for Zouma to be prosecuted.
Zouma issued an apology, but Essex Police confirmed â€œurgent enquiriesâ€ were underway in conjunction with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
The two cats have been taken to the RSPCA for assessment. â€œOur priority is and has always been the wellbeing of these cats,â€ an RSPCA spokesperson said.
â€œTheyâ€™ve been taken for a check-up at a vets and then will remain in our care while the investigation continues. Weâ€™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.â€
West Ham have condemned the actions of its player and said that the matter will be dealt with internally. The club also fined Zouma Â£250,000, to be donated to animal welfare charities.
Earlier on Wednesday, the footballer also lost his sponsorship deal with the health-based company, Vitality.
Zouma, however, was included in the team by coach David Moyes in the win against Watford on Tuesday night.