It’s not often that the worlds of sports and animal rights cross paths outside of charity events and mascots, but a video of a Middle Tennessee State University football player abusing a puppy has illuminated that overlap in the harsh light of reality.
Police in Murfreesboro, Tenn., have leveled animal abuse charges at Shalom Alvarez, MTSU junior linebacker, for striking the dog, and Justin Akins, senior defensive end, for recording the act and posting it to Snapchat with the caption, “[Expletive] said you don’t pay rent.” The puppy, named Rocko, belonged to MTSU junior cornerback Daryl Randolph.
Were it not for a “concerned citizen” recording the video and sending it along to the Rutherford County Pet Adoption and Welfare Services in March, according to the Washington Post, the police may have never found out.
Both players were suspended from the MTSU football team on April 12, and while Rutherford County Animal Control investigators conducted a search of Akins’s residence, they learned the senior had been in recent contact with the police. WSMV reports that he was evicted from the College Grove apartment complex in May 2016 and banned from reentry following a shooting incident. Eight months later, according to MTSU Sidelines, Akins was arrested for evading and resisting arrest while in possession of 4.3 ounces of marijuana, considered a schedule VI narcotic in Tennessee.