Chelsea and United States winger Christian Pulisic has sparked fury over a viral video in which he fell onto an endangered fish while performing a bull juggling stunt on a boat.
Those are words you probably never thought you would read in the same sentence.
Pulisic, who played 43 times in all competitions for Chelsea last season and won the Champions League, is enjoying a summer break in Florida and has participated in some off-shore fishing.
In a clip posted on the 22-year-old’s Instagram feed, he was seen sitting on the side of a boat juggling a ball with his feet above an Atlantic goliath grouper fish that was hooked on a line.
But after performing tricks with the ball, Pulisic could be soon losing control of it and falling into the water on top of the huge fish, which is typically found in Caribbean waters off the coast of the Florida Keys and is considered 'vulnerable' (one of four categories of endangered species) in its conservation status.
The UK-based Blue Planet Society tweeted in response to the video, “Abusing a threatened goliath grouper for a social media video is a new low.”
The fish appeared to be distressed and struggle when Pulisic’s stunt went wrong but couldn’t get away because it was still being held by the boat crew.
‘Life flashed in front of my eyes’ alongside a laughing emoji was the caption Pulisic posted alongside the video. Despite the backlash over the incident, the post has not been deleted.
Another social media video posted by the company that organised the fishing trip showed Pulisic holding a hooked shark by the tail against the side of the boat. The post said the shark was later released.
It isn’t the first time that Pulisic has courted controversy on social media. The former Borussia Dortmund talent previously appeared to ‘like’ a post featuring a room full of guns that also included apparent threats of violence towards members of anti-fascist and ant-racist organisation Antifa.