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MTSU Football Program Dismisses Players In Animal Cruelty Case


The MTSU football program has dismissed two players involved in an animal cruelty investigation that began after a disturbing video of a player striking a puppy multiple times surfaced.

The two players involved in the incident — defensive lineman Justin Akins and linebacker Shalom Alvarez — were initially suspended on Wednesday.

However, after reviewing the footage and gathering more information, Middle Tennessee State head coach Rick Stocksill determined it would be best to boot the duo from the team.

Stocksill announced his decision in a statement on Friday afternoon.

“When confronted with situations of inappropriate conduct, it is easy for a coach to simply dismiss players in trouble without taking time to study the situation. I feel it is important to consider the facts carefully, and seek input from others with information and expertise, before reaching a decision.

“After reviewing the matter further, and speaking with authorities with the appropriate expertise, I have decided to dismiss Justin Akins and Shalom Alvarez from our football team. Their actions were in violation of the values and standards of our program.

“I appreciate the work by the Rutherford County Pet Adoption and Welfare Services and Murfreesboro Police Department. Their expertise was invaluable in this process and will help educate our players.”

Neither player was a significant contributor, with Alvarez joining the program just a year ago.

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Josh studied journalism at Seton Hill University. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Campus Sports. Josh is currently a member of the FWAA and USBWA. His work has been featured on Sports Illustrated,,, and many others.
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