Updated Friday 2 p.m. 

Two MTSU football players under investigation for animal cruelty have been dismissed from the football team.

In a video posted to Justin Akins’ Snapchat account last month, Shalom Alvarez can be seen hitting a puppy.

Head coach Rick Stockstill announced their dismissal on Friday with this statement:

"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."

Stockstill initially said in a statement that the players told him the puppy urinated inside and they were disciplining it. Stockstill called it a “teaching moment” and said he pointed out how disciplining the pet by spanking it could be misconstrued on social media.

Akins and Alvarez were suspended from the team on Wednesday.

Athletics Director Chris Massaro announced the suspension in a statement:

"The actions captured on this video are obviously disturbing. We welcome the inquiry by the Rutherford County Pet Adoption and Welfare Services. We have high expectations of conduct for 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."

Original story

Two MTSU football players under investigation for animal cruelty have been suspended from the football team.

In a video posted to Justin Akins’ Snapchat account last month, Shalom Alvarez can be seen hitting a puppy. Both players are now suspended.

A concerned citizen was able to record the video from her iPad because Snapchat posts disappear after a certain amount of time.

In the video, police said Alvarez, who is a linebacker for MTSU's football team, is seen hitting the dog. Police said he grabbed the dog from under the bed and forcefully hit the puppy at least five times. The puppy can be hearing crying in pain with each hit.

Police said Akins, a redshirt senior football player, posted the video with the comment "[Expletive] said you don't pay rent."

Rutherford County Animal Control investigators said when they were trying to track Akins down for an interview at the College Grove apartments, they found he was evicted last May and not allowed there or at Aspen Heights for a shooting incident involving police.

Athletics Director Chris Massaro announced the suspension Wednesday in a statement:

"The actions captured on this video are obviously disturbing. We welcome the inquiry by the Rutherford County Pet Adoption and Welfare Services. We have high expectations of conduct for 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."

MTSU head football coach Rick Stockstill initially said in a statement that the players told him the puppy urinated inside and they were disciplining it. Stockstill called it a “teaching moment” and said he pointed out how disciplining the pet by spanking it could be misconstrued on social media.

"I am aware of the situation and have talked to the players involved," Stockstill said in a statement to Nashville NBC-affiliate WSMV on Tuesday. "The players explained to me that the puppy urinated inside and they were simply spanking it as a form of discipline. They told me there was never any intent to harm the dog. This was an important teaching moment. I talked to them about other approaches that should have been considered in this situation. And I pointed out how disciplining a pet in such a manner could be misconstrued, especially with the impact of social media."

The puppy did not belong to either football player. There have been no arrests or charges in this case.