USA Today reported Friday that WWE chairman Vince McMahon has countersued former XFL commissioner Oliver Luck for nearly $600,000.
McMahon filed the suit on Thursday in Connecticut federal court, saying Luck defied McMahon’s orders with his league personnel decisions and that Luck was derelict in his duties when the pandemic hit in March.
Luck sued McMahon in April for breach of contract after he was fired the day before the XFL announced they were laying off all personnel, a precusor to filing for bankruptcy. He is seeking the remaining $23+ million of his contract in addition to damages and attorney fees.
The main sticking point for McMahon was Luck’s decisions on specific players that defied McMahon’s edict that they be “quality football players with good character.” One of those players was Antonio Callaway, out of the NFL due to a substance abuse violation and a prior suspension due to credit card fraud.
He was brought into the XFL player pool and taken by Tampa Bay. However, he got injured and never played a game, but was still due his $120,000 signing bonus in addition to worker’s compensation.
The $572,792.10 McMahon is suing for covers Callaway’s contract and worker’s comp in addition to Luck’s compensation from March 14th through April 9th. The dates are when McMahon said Luck went home to Indiana instead of sticking around the league’s offices in Connecticut to manage things through the pandemic, claiming Luck cut off communication.
From the suit: “Luck knowingly and deliberately deceived me – repeatedly – throughout the Callaway situation, which made me question whether I could continue to trust Luck to be the commissioner and CEO of the XFL.”
Another player who caused an issue between the two was controversial quarterback Johnny Manziel who McMahon wasn’t interested in.
From the USA Today story:
“After learning of reports that the XFL would consider signing Manziel, McMahon texted Luck “How long R U going to play this game Oliver? U know there is NO CHANCE IN HELL for Manziel to play for us. I will not change my mind. So what’s Ur plan??”
Admitting it was a headlines ploy, Luck responded: “Vince – we have no intention of signing him, none whatsoever. We’re just milking the story to stay in the news. I’m happy to categorically rule him out but both Jeffrey and I think it is worthwhile to milk it until the showcases are finished (July 12). At that point we can say he doesn’t fit into our plans.”
An ownership group led by Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia purchased the assets of the XFL with the intent of relaunching it in 2022.