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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Ex-player made death-threat calls to Alvarez

In a series of voice mails to the Athletic Department last week, former Badger football player Leonard J. Taylor Jr., who has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, threatened the lives of UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez and professional tennis player Maria Sharapova, according to a criminal complaint.  


According to the complaint, Taylor, 32, of Indianapolis had been calling Alvarez's work phone and leaving disturbing messages"" since the beginning of the football season. The compliant states the calls were not threatening, but ""bizarre,"" and had been made during the 2007-'08 season as well about money supposedly owed to him. 


During a telephone conversation with UW Police Detective Bruce Carroll Sept. 16, Taylor vowed to stop calling Alvarez and was told he was not allowed at any Athletic Department facilities. 


A university employee told UWPD detectives the calls had stopped after police intervened but resumed in November with ""excessive profanity, threats against Alvarez and references to how professional tennis player Maria Sharapova [had] done [him] injustices in various ways."" The complaint states 29 messages were left on Alvarez's voice mail Nov. 24 and Nov. 25, in which Taylor said he wanted to marry Sharapova, but also kill her and her family. 


In a message left Nov. 24, Taylor also said he planned to come to Madison and kill Alvarez and his family if unspecified demands were not met within 24 hours. ""I just want to look at you one [expletive] last time before I pull the [expletive] trigger, Barry,"" he said. 


Taylor played for the Badgers from 1995 to 1998, while Alvarez was the head football coach.  


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Taylor's father, Leonard Taylor Sr., told police Wednesday his son has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, has been off medication for three months and has not been seeing his therapist. 


Taylor was arrested Friday in Indiana and has been charged with stalking and telephone harassment for the calls he made.

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