What is it with professional football players and animal cruelty?
On Sunday, February 27, a match between two South American football clubs – Atletico Junior and Deportivo Pereira – was held in Barranquilla, Colombia. During the game, an owl flew onto the field. The owl was injured during a collision with the ball and then kicked off the field by one of the players. The owl died on Tuesday.
This was no ordinary owl. He lived in the home team’s stadium roof and was considered their unofficial mascot. When the incident occurred, fans in the stadium could be heard shouting “murderer, murderer.”
A veterinarian in the stands came to the owl’s assistance shortly after the incident, but the bird went into shock and died two days later from respiratory arrest.
Luis Moreno, the Deportivo Pereira defender who can be seen kicking the owl in a close up shot, later apologized. He was quoted in MyNorthwest.com. “I was not trying to hurt the owl. I did it to see if it would fly,” said Moreno. “What I wanted to do was get it off the field. The kick was a product of tension on the field at the time,” he explained.
Yahoo! Sports reported Moreno was suspended for two games and fined $560.
In a news conference on Monday, Moreno spoke. “I apologize to the whole country and more to the fans of Barranquilla because it was a very serious action, and if I get a penalty, then I’ll take it,” he said.
Well, he got his penalty. Let’s see how he takes it.
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Photo: Flickr - pricejaj