Bad tackle: Chelsea ace Pulisic in hot water with animal rights groups after ‘abusing’ fish in social media stunt (VIDEO)

Chelsea and United States star Christian Pulisic has been slammed by an animal rights group after he accidentally fell off a boat onto a goliath grouper fish while attempting to show off his ball juggling skills.

A video released on social media showed the 22-year-old performing 'keepie uppies' while sitting on the side of a boat while a companion of the footballer holds the giant fish on a fishing line in front of him - only for Pulisic to lose his balance and fall into the water and directly onto the fish. 

The grouper appears to be in some distress when Pulisic lands on it, at which point the clips ends with Pulisic later uploading the video to social media with the caption: "Life flashed in front of my eyes🤣What a day on the water with @blacktiph and @emadgg_."

Pulisic, who is the captain of the United States international team, clearly saw the funny side to his accidental plunge into the water - but animal rights group Blue Planet Society weren't quite so enthused and hit out at the Chelsea man on social media claiming that the incident was "a new low".

"Abusing a threatened goliath grouper for a social media video is a new low," they wrote in response to the clip.

Blue Planet Society describe themselves as a "volunteer pressure group campaigning to end the overexploitation of the world’s ocean".

They later added in a subsequent tweet about the incident that the clip showed a "well-known professional footballer abuses a threatened goliath grouper for fun.

"Animal abuse. Protected and endangered goliath grouper — imagine if this was a lion or tiger and you’ll get the idea. #FishAreWildlife"

A host of footballers, including Pulisic's Chelsea teammates Thiago Silva and Marco Alonso, reacted to the video with a stream of 'laughing' emojis.

Pulisic's stunt was also met with scorn online from a host of football fans who, like Blue Planet Society, saw the clip as being a needless example of causing stress to a wild animal for little more than social media clout. 

"This isn’t cute or funny. You’re holding an endangered species and jumping on it while forcing it out of the water. Really represents what he’s all about," wrote one.

Another addressed Pulisic directly, saying: "That is a protected species and either way it’s cruel. You are an influential figure and you have a responsibility to set a good example for people especially youth who will see this. Do you want a better world or nah you don’t care?"

A third agreed, "Hey Chelsea fans, here's one of your players making animal abuse with one fish which is in the list of protected species."

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