The XFL is gone (again), but it won’t be forgotten. For reasons other than nostalgia.
Former XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck has sued XFL owner Vince McMahon for wrongful termination, according to Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com.
The lawsuit, as interpreted by Kaplan, suggests that Luck (who reportedly had a $20 million guaranteed contract) was terminated for cause, based on this line: “Mr. Luck wholly disputes and rejects the allegations set forth in the Termination Letter and contends they are pretextual and devoid of merit.”
The XFL ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy due to the premature termination of the 2020 season, resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. The notion that Luck did something to justify being fired for cause one day before the league disbanded operations and laid off most if not all employees is highly coincidental at best, flat-out false at worst.
Luck’s complaint was filed with both the termination letter and the response to it sealed from view. Because court proceedings are inherently public in nature, those letters eventually will be disclosed — unless the case resolves before the court compels the release of the documents.
Because the XFL has filed for bankruptcy, Luck’s recovery from the league itself likely would be limited. By suing McMahon directly, Luck would (if his legal claims are viable) have a better chance at getting his money.
Ultimately, the case will be driven by the language of the contract, any testimony needed for the proper interpretation of the parties’ intent, and evidence regarding whatever it is that Luck allegedly did to justify being fired separate and apart from the layoffs triggered by the pandemic. With $20 million in play, it’s easy to understand why Luck is enforcing his rights, and why McMahon surely will exercise his right to defend himself.