While North America obsesses over Charlie Sheen, South America is buzzing about an unfortunate owl.
The bird in question is the unofficial mascot for the Atletico Junior soccer team in Colombia. It landed in the corner of the field in a game Sunday and wobbled out toward the players, clearly injured and disoriented. Things got much worse for the animal when a player on the opposing team, stunned to see it in front of him, kicked the owl.
The bird died 30 hours later, of shock.
The ensuing shock of fans in Colombia has resonated all over the world, as the player who kicked the bird, Luis Moreno of the team Deportivo Pereira, originally explained he did it “to see if the owl could fly.” That further enraged soccer fans and animal lovers around the globe, and Moreno says he has received death threats.
“This animal was a symbol for the fans from Barranquilla,” Colombian officials said in a statement. “Given that the aggressive act took place in their home stadium and in the clear view of all the fans, this act can be legitimately interpreted as provocative.”
Moreno was fined $560 and suspended for two games. But for animal lovers and soccer fans in a proud Colombian city, no penalty could be too severe.