West Ham boss David Moyes has said Kurt Zouma is available for Sunday’s game at Leicester amid controversy over the defender being filmed kicking his cat.
Animal charity the RSPCA removed the 27-year-old’s two cats as they investigated the incident.
Moyes was criticised for picking Zouma against Watford on Tuesday after the video of the defender was released.
“There are different views as to whether he should be available. We have decided that he should. I stand by that,” Moyes said.
Zouma was fined the maximum amount by the Hammers, with the costs going to animal welfare charities.
“I don’t think any club could have acted quicker than they have at the moment. West Ham have done a very good job,” Moyes added.
“I don’t condone it, his actions were terrible. They were diabolical but we chose to play him and we’re sticking to that.
“We’re going to give him help. We’re trying to do everything we can as a club, as a team, to help him.
“Like people who may have drinking and driving offenses, most of them have to take classes to learn about the reasons and the damage that can be done.
“I think the RSPCA is going to give us classes so Kurt understands animals and how to treat them,” he said.
“He has incredible remorse. Like everyone else in life, sometimes you need a little forgiveness. He hopes he will be forgiven for a bad action.”
The video also showed Zouma slapping his cat and was reportedly filmed by his brother Yoan.
Yoan is at Dagenham & Redbridge, who have said he will not play for the National League club until an RSPCA investigation is concluded.
The fallout from the incident has led German sportswear company Adidas to end its deal with the Hammers player.
West Ham’s sponsor, Experience Kissimmee, also terminated its contract with the club, while another of the London team’s sponsors, Vitality, suspended its contract with the Premier League team.
West Ham signed Zouma for £29.8 million from Chelsea in August 2021 and he helped them to fourth place ahead of the game against the Foxes.
“I have never had [an incident] like this. As a soccer manager, it shows you never know what you’re going to get,” Moyes said.
“It’s part of the job. We would rather not make the news. West Ham have made some very, very good news in the last two years.
“We have a very good team. I’m sad that the focus has been taken away from what is, at the moment, a very good season.”