Former football player charged with threatening Sharapova


MADISON (Wisconsin): A former US university gridiron player was charged Monday with threatening Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, as well as his former coach.

Leonard Taylor, a defensive back for the University of Wisconsin from 1995-98, was arrested on Friday and faces charges of stalking and telephone harassment over calls he made to Barry Alvarez, his former head coach and now the University of Wisconsin athletic director.

In the calls, Taylor threatened to kill Sharapova and her family as well as Alvarez himself, according to a criminal complaint released on Monday.

Taylor’s father, Leonard Taylor Snr, told police his son has been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic and stopped taking his medication about three months ago.

According to the complaint, police were informed in September that the 32-year-old Taylor had been calling Alvarez at work and leaving “disturbing messages”.

Police contacted Taylor, who vowed to stop calling.

However, he began calling again in November, voicing “excessive profanity, threats against Alvarez and references to how professional tennis player Maria Sharapova (had) done (him) injustices in various ways,” the complaint said.

According to the documents, Taylor left 29 messages on Alvarez’s voice mail on Nov 24 and 25, in some of which Taylor said he wanted to marry Sharapova but also kill her and her family. — AFP

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