Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel is facing a difficult situation early in his UT tenure.

On Saturday, WBIR reported that the Knoxville Police Department received a report of alleged animal abuse on Thursday involving Vols junior linebacker Aaron Beasley.

Beasley hasn’t been charged yet, as the incident is still under investigation.

The details of the incident are horrifying.

From WBIR:

The pet owner said that she had been in the process of moving when she came home and found her 6-month-old kitten hiding under a dresser. The kitten could not walk and screamed when it was picked up, according to a GoFundMe to raise funds for the kitten.

She said she later learned that her roommate’s boyfriend had abused it.

The kitten was brought to an emergency room with brain damage and is expected to have difficulty walking, according to the GoFundMe page. It also has a bleeding hemorrhage in its kidney after being kicked, the owner said, and that it was placed in an oxygen tank.

This is a situation where Heupel needs to be quick and decisive. The best approach would probably be to suspend Beasley pending the investigation (and eventually kick him off the team pending the outcome of the charges, if there are any). I don’t think there’s any way he can be a part of the Tennessee football program moving forward unless he ends up being completely cleared in the investigation (which, given the details, doesn’t seem likely).

It’s a tough spot for Heupel to be in while he’s in the middle of spring practice. But still, he needs to make a strong statement about what kind of program he’s running at Tennessee.

Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

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