Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Leonard Taylor

The other day Schwalbach emailed me about this Leonard Taylor story, it was the first I'd heard of it. Schwib remarked that he remembered LT from our dorm days, and I did too. He used to hang around the female soccer players who lived on our second floor (good move), and always seemed to be as much like a regular student as a scholarship football player can be. Nice guy.

He even ended up being a contributor on a Rose Bowl championship team, which frankly surprised me, as none of the Badgers' defensive backs during my time on campus seemed that great.

Aside from the obvious hopes that Leonard get the help he needs, and the bizarre nature of Maria Sharapova's involvement in it, this is what struck me:

Are Taylor's rants wholly the result of his schizophrenia? Frustration over not being paid for this TV job? Or did Barry Alvarez and his coaching staff somehow plant the seeds for this with their treatment of Taylor and his teammates over the years?

The answer is likely almost all #1. There have been thousands of demanding coaches at a variety of levels over the years, yet very rarely if at all do you hear about anything like this. But isn't that in itself surprising? Mental health problems afflict more people than ever before (or are at least being acknowledged with greater regularity than ever before), and you would think that some current or former athletes who played for abusive or borderline abusive coaches have had these tendencies, yet there haven't been many stories like this.

This isn't to accuse Barry and his staff of abusive behavior. And it does not imply that demanding coaches deserve death threats from former players.

Get better soon, Leonard, don't fight what can make you better.

11 comments:

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How do I get Maria Sharapova's phone number? Anyone?

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