MIAMI (CBS4) — Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is under investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission after posting a photo of himself with a hammerhead shark on social media, CBS4 confirmed.
Miller posted the photo of himself holding the bloodied shark by the tail on his Instagram story and it was shared by multiple media outlets.
Miller also posted video of the catch — and release — which was recorded and posted by TMZ.
“Here we go bring him up, bring him up,” is heard on a video posted on social media in which Miller and others appear on a guided fishing trip.
However, it’s not clear from the video whether the shark was alive or dead. It floats away on its side before disappearing under the water.
The boat captain told TMZ the 9½-foot hammerhead shark was the biggest hammerhead he’d seen all season.
It’s against the law in Florida to catch many species of sharks.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, reacted to the video.
PETA spokesperson Ashley Byrne told CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger via Skype, “Catching and injuring and possibly killing a hammerhead shark and then prolonging the animal’s suffering and then gloating to take photos is cruel to animals, plain and simple, there is no excuse for that.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission authorities told CBS4 that photos are allowed only during the release of the shark.
“The FWC has received the images and video and is looking into whether or not a violation occurred in this incident,” Carol Lyn Parrish, the commission’s public information coordinator, said in an email to CBS4 reporter Rick Salinger.
The FWC website states that great hammerhead sharks are prohibited from being harvested in state waters.
Miller could be facing a second-degree misdemeanor which is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and 60 days in jail, the FWC confirmed to CBS4.