Tennessee linebacker Aaron Beasley suspended indefinitely after cat abuse allegation
"We have received the incident report from the Knoxville Police Department," UT said in a statement Monday. "Aaron Beasley has been suspended indefinitely from all football team activities as we await further information."
Knox News typically does not identify people until they are arrested or charged with a crime. But in this case, Tennessee identified Beasley when it announced the suspension, after being asked to comment on the accusations against the football player.
Beasley, who appeared in eight games as a backup for the Vols last season, is accused of abusing a 6-month-old cat, according to an incident report filed Thursday with the Knoxville Police Department.
The incident in still under investigation, and Beasley had not been charged as of Monday afternoon.
The cat was being treated at Animal Emergency & Special Center of Knoxville, where he was diagnosed with a small concussion and kidney failure, according to the incident report.
Police spoke with the cat's owner, Kaylee Scarbrough, 18, and two roommates, McKinley Bunting, 18, and Zoe Phillips, 21. Phillips is Beasley's girlfriend, according to the incident report. The call to police was made by Scarbrough's sister.
Scarbrough told police she was moving out of the apartment and left the cat behind Wednesday night. When she returned Thursday morning, the cat was hiding under a dresser and "was not wanting to walk or stand up" when she got him out.
Phillips told police she and Beasley returned from the store around 11 p.m. Wednesday. They found the cat inside her room eating their food, which Phillips said was an ongoing issue with the cat. Phillips told police Beasley took the cat and locked it in a bathroom. Around 3 a.m., Phillips told police, she opened the door and the cat ran into its owner's bedroom.
Bunting, the other roommate, told police she was in her room and heard Phillips tell Beasley “you can’t do that” and start crying. Bunting also told police she has a text message from the football player's girlfriend that says he put the kitten in a toilet.
Phillips told police she did not see her boyfriend hit the cat or put it in the toilet.
Scarbrough started a GoFundMe on Friday that has raised more than $4,000. On the GoFundMe page, she says the cat "screamed" when she picked him up and alleged the football player "hit and kicked" the cat as well as "locked him in the toilet bowl and held him upside down by the tail."
She said the cat has "brain damage and will now have a hard time walking." She also said the cat has "a bleeding hemorrhage on his kidney caused from internal bleeding from being kicked, clots in his bladder, and is currently in an oxygen tank."
Beasley made seven tackles and forced one fumble last season.
He has appeared in 17 games in his career.