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Football Players Suspended Amid Animal Cruelty Investigation has partnered with LexisNexis to bring you this content.

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The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee)


Two Middle Tennessee State University football players at the center of an animal cruelty investigation have been suspended.

Defensive lineman Justin Akins and linebacker Shalom Alvarez, both being investigated by the Murfreesboro Police Department for alleged animal cruelty, will also work with the Rutherford County Pet Adoption and Welfare Services, the university announced in a statement Wednesday.

"The actions captured on this video are obviously disturbing," MTSU athletic director Chris Massaro said in the statement. "We welcome the inquiry by the Rutherford County Pet Adoption and Welfare Services.

"We have high expectations of conduct of our student-athletes. Coach (Rick) Stockstill has suspended these players until the inquiry is complete and they will perform community service to the benefit of local animal welfare efforts."

According to a Murfreesboro Police report from April 7, a concerned citizen reached out to detectives April 6 after seeing a Snapchat video of alleged animal cruelty.

In the video posted on Akins' account, Alvarez is seen striking a puppy four times, the report stated.

"The puppy yelps in pain with each strike," the report stated.

Additionally the post displays an extremely derogatory comment regarding failure to pay rent.

The investigation is ongoing, Murfreesboro Police spokesman Kyle Evans told The Daily News Journal.

No arrests have been made, and no charges have been filed.

Akins, a redshirt-senior, played in all 13 games last season and recorded 27 tackles and led all linemen with four pass breakups.

He's recorded 1.5 sacks over the past two seasons.

Alvarez, a redshirt-junior, joined the Blue Raiders in 2016 but did not play in any games.

Reach Aldo Amato at 615-278-5109 and on Twitter @Aldo_Amato.

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April 13, 2017


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