Baylor suspends WR Ishmael Zamora after animal abuse incident

ByMax Olson ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Baylor Bears have suspended wide receiver Ishmael Zamora for three games after a video emerged of the wide receiver whipping and kicking his dog.

"Our football program does not condone this behavior by anyone," Baylor coach Jim Grobe said in a statement. "We are deeply saddened by it and have worked together with the University to hold Ishmael accountable for his actions."

Zamora had been charged with a Class C misdemeanor after a Snapchat video, obtained and released Aug. 19 by KXXV News Channel 25 in Waco, Texas, showed Zamora hitting his dog eight times with a belt and kicking it. The incident occurred in June.

In addition to the misdemeanor citation and fine he already received, Baylor announced Zamora must perform 40 hours of community service "in a manner that will teach him kindness and respect toward animals."

He must also undergo counseling and relinquish his dog to an animal-friendly home. He sent the dog to live with relatives in Houston after the incident.

"I am sorry that I took out my frustration on my dog and accept the punishment that comes with it," Zamora said in a statement. "This incident will never, ever happen again. I truly love my dog, however, I know that my actions showed differently and I know that I made a big mistake. I apologize to my family, teammates, Baylor University and our fans for my actions.

"Eventually, I hope that everyone can see who I really am and that I am not a terrible person. This incident does not and will not define me, and I know that I am the one who will have to prove that to others in the days ahead."

Grobe said he heard from "many passionate individuals" over the past 10 days and understood their concerns. He said his goal for Zamora's discipline is to be educational and restorative in the hopes Zamora will learn from his actions.

Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, issued a statement last week suggesting Zamora receive anger management training and work with the animal rights organization or a local animal shelter "to do something that will never fully make amends but will at least help other dogs who have been abused."

An online petition demanding Zamora be kicked off the team drew more than 170,000 supporters.

The sophomore was listed as a starter on Baylor's depth chart, which was released Monday. Zamora caught nine passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns last season.

He'll miss three nonconference games and return for Baylor's Big 12 opener against Oklahoma State on Sept. 24. Zamora will continue to practice with the team during his suspension if he meets the provisions of his sanctions.

"Ishmael's behavior toward his dog is disheartening, and is not condoned," Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades said in a statement. "We believe with proper counseling and training Ishmael can learn from this and I expect that of him. I've conveyed to him my expectation that his actions and his service will illustrate his commitment to change."