The news is rarely good when a college football team or player ends up making national headlines in spring, and for two Middle Tennessee State players there was no exception to that rule.
On April 6, a video depicting Blue Raiders Justin Akins and Shalom Alvarez with a puppy was turned over to the Murfreesboro Police Department. In the video, which Akins filmed, Alvarez is seen yanking the puppy from beneath a bed and then striking it on the head four times. According to the police report, the puppy yelped with each strike.
Akins posted the video to his own SnapChat account.
“The actions captured on this video are obviously disturbing,” stated MTSU athletic director Chris Massaro.
By April 12 both players were suspended pending a joint investigation between the MPD and the Rutherford County Pet Adoption Services and Welfare Services. Both were dismissed from the team two days later.
Alvarez faces an animal cruelty charge; no charges were filed against Akins.