The XFL died before a full season, but the drama lives on.
Lawyers for Vince McMahon claim in a court filing Wednesday that the XFL owner terminated commissioner Oliver Luck for cause, Sports Business Journal reports.
Luck is suing McMahon for breach of contract after being fired April 9, four days before the XFL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
McMahon’s attorneys responded in their pre-trial fillings, listing three reasons for Luck’s dismissal: 1. Gross neglect of his job during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic; 2. Personal use of a league-issued cell phone; 3. Signing receiver Antonio Callaway despite McMahon’s orders to avoid players with previous legal troubles.
McMahon claims Luck left the XFL’s headquarters in Connecticut for his Indiana home March 13 and “disengage[d] from the XFL’s operations,” according to Sports Business Journal. McMahon said Luck did not inform him of his intentions.
“Put simply, at the very moment when his leadership as CEO was needed most, Luck did not devote substantially all of his business time to the XFL, as required by his contract,” the filing reads.
Callaway, a former Browns receiver, signed a draft contract with a $125,000 signing bonus without McMahon’s knowledge, McMahon claims. The filing says “Luck failed to promptly terminate Callaway in accordance with McMahon’s instructions,” before Callaway injured his knee in a Tampa Bay Vipers practice. Callaway never played a down, but McMahon said the cost of his signing was “in excess of six figures.”
Luck redacted most of the specifics of the dispute in his original complaint but said he “wholly disputes and rejects the allegations set forth in the Termination Letter and contends they are pretextual and devoid of merit.”
Luck’s contract paid him a $5 million annual salary and a $2 million annual bonus, according to the filing.