BOGOTA - Panamanian international Luis Moreno said he had been threatened on Tuesday for kicking an owl, which subsequently died, during a Colombian championship match.
"There have been all kinds of things... on the telephone, everything," the Pereira player said in a television interview. "It wasn't my intention to hurt the animal."
Moreno caused an uproar by trying to kick the stricken bird - which had just been injured after being hit by the ball - into touch during the 2-1 defeat at Atletico Junior on Sunday.
The owl, which lived under the roof of the Metropolitano stadium in Barranquilla, was considered Junior's lucky mascot and Moreno had to be given police protection on leaving the field.
"It's very difficult for me and my family who are in Panama and are afraid about all this," added Moreno.
The player's tearful mother said in an interview in Panama: "I've very worried, his intention was not to kill the animal."
Environmental officials in Barranquilla told Colombian media the bird had died in the early hours of Tuesday morning, probably as a result of the stress caused by the incident and being excessively man-handed afterwards.
Moreno was shown being taken to a zoo to be given a lecture on owls by local officials, where he promised to return once a month to do voluntary work.
The Colombian league, the Dimayor, has already said it will take disciplinary action against the player.comments