UT football player suspended from team amid animal abuse investigation

Aaron Beasley, a University of Tennessee football player, was suspended from the team after the Knoxville Police Department announced an animal abuse investigation.
Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 7:58 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 9, 2021 at 4:08 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -University of Tennessee football player Aaron Beasley has been suspended from all team activities amid an animal abuse allegation.

The Knoxville Police Department is investigating a possible animal abuse case after a University of Tennessee student, Kaylee Scarbrough, said she came home to find her six-month-old kitten seriously injured.

“We have received the incident report from the Knoxville Police Department. Aaron Beasley has been suspended indefinitely from all football team activities as we await further information,” Assistant Athletic Director for Football Communications Bill Martin told WVLT News.

According to UT Football, Beasley is a Junior Linebacker from Franklin, Georgia majoring in communication studies at the university. He came to UT in 2019 where he joined the football team, appearing in nine games contributing to the special teams as a true freshman. During his sophomore year he played in eight games as a reserve linebacker.

Scarbrough told KPD she was in the middle of moving and returned to her home she shared with three roommates when she found her kitten ‘Nugget’ hiding under a dresser in her room, not allowing anyone to touch him.

“When he gets super scared, has to be really scared and he will get under the dresser. And so, I shined my flashlight underneath there and I saw a little gray fur ball and I was joking with him like ‘Nugget get out here right now’ and I tried to get him out and he was not moving,” said Scarbrough.

Scarbrough said when she got Nugget to come out he was unable to walk and screaming in pain when she touched him.

“Every time I touched his stomach he squeals; he cannot keep his eyes open. He is just not Nugget,” she said.

Scarbrough rushed her kitten to Animal Emergency and Specialty Center in Knoxville. Vet records revealed Nugget was suffering from a traumatic brain injury from blunt force trauma to the head, internal bleeding and bruising to his left kidney.

“He was in pretty serious condition, he had evidence of pretty significant trauma, so we worked with our emergency team to get him stabilized as quickly as possible,” Veterinary Technician Bill Freeman told WVLT News.

Nugget was under the veterinary clinic’s care over the weekend. Freeman said the kitten was on oxygen and in the intensive care unit. He was able to go home with Scarbrough Sunday morning.

“He came in at two percent and he has made that much ground in a very short period of time. He’s a pretty remarkable little guy,” said Freeman.

Scarbrough told police she believes her roommate’s boyfriend, identified as Aaron Beasley, hurt Nugget. One of Scarbrough’s roommates told police she heard what happened inside the apartment before Nugget was hurt. She said she heard another roommate in the home crying telling Beasley, “You can’t do that”.

No one has been charged in this case.

A Facebook group called Knoxville Cat Lovers rallied around Scarbrough and Nugget. Scarbrough was facing a $1,900 vet bill for Nugget and the group donated more than $5,200 to help out. Scarbrough said she will donate any remaining funds to an animal hospital or cat rescue.

This is a developing story.

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