Here’s a mostly sad story: Former University of Wisconsin defensive back Leonard Taylor has been taken into custody for making “specific death threats” to two popular sports personalities, two who couldn’t be any more different. The first at least makes some kind of weird sense - UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez - but the second takes quite a few leaps of logic to get there: tennis babe Maria Sharapova.
(Beauty and the Beast, both threatened)
Of course, we’ll probably not get much in the way of “logic” when it comes to getting a reason for that second death threat. Taylor is a “paranoid schizophrenic, has been off his medications for three months and was not seeing his therapist”. Not a good mix.
And what, pray tell, exactly constitutes a “death threat”?
The messages he left on Alvarez’s machine, via the WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL:
“I’ll kill you first, mother (expletive),” Taylor said, according to the complaint. “I’ve got 24 (expletive) hours mother (expletive). I’m coming for your (expletive) ass. You might have a (expletive) war.”
Later in the message he told Alvarez that he wanted to look at him one last time “before I pull the (expletive) trigger, Barry.”
Apparently preceding these messages, Taylor kept on calling Alvarez to make “strange but not threatening” complaints about the amount of money he was paid for appearances by a television network. Alvarez, obviously, had no idea what he was talking about, called the police, who then asked Taylor to please stop. He consented for a bit, but then things took a bad turn right before Thanksgiving. And this is where Maria Sharapova makes her weird cameo:
But the calls resumed on Nov. 24 when he left 29 messages for Alvarez on that day and the next. They consisted of threats against Alvarez and references to how Alvarez and tennis star Maria Sharapova had done injustices to Taylor in various ways. Taylor said he wanted to marry Sharapova but also kill her and her family.
The guess here is that he’d have a tough time getting Sharapova’s dad’s permission for her hand in marriage. But in all seriousness, it’s good to see the cops step in as early as they did on this one. We wouldn’t want one of the most beautiful people in sports to be put in harm’s way. And we wouldn’t want anything to happen to Maria either.