A Colombian soccer team's mascot owl died after being kicked by a rival player, Radio Santa Fe reported Tuesday.
The bird landed on the field with an apparent broken wing during Sunday's game between Barranquilla's Atletico Junior and Deportivo Pereira. The visitors' Panamanian striker Luis Moreno kicked the owl off the field, provoking a furious reaction from the Baranquilla crowd, who considered the bird to be a good luck charm.
Moreno had to be protected by police when walking off the field. He is facing a possible one to three months in jail and a maximum fine of 50,000 pesos ($26), according to Radio Santa Fe. He also faces possible sanctions from soccer league officials.
"I apologize to the whole country and more to the fans of Barranquilla because it was a very serious action, and if I get a penalty, then I'll take it," Moreno told reporters at a news conference Monday.
Veterinarians treating the bird said it died of respiratory arrest early Tuesday, most likely brought on by the stress of being handled excessively following the incident.