Former XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck received a multi-million-dollar contract from the second iteration of the league, with a personal guarantee of the amounts from founder Vince McMahon. Once XFL 2.0 imploded due to the pandemic, McMahon (to little surprise) tried to avoid his obligation to Luck, which exceeds $24 million.
So McMahon fired Luck for cause, throwing handfuls of crap at the wall in the hopes that something would stick. Most of the crap has not. At a trial due to start next month, one — and only one — argument remains.
As explained by Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, McMahon will be permitted to take to a jury the question of whether Luck was fired for cause because he signed former NFL receiver Antonio Callaway, in direct violation of McMahon’s directive to avoid players with past off-field issues.
The problem for McMahon is that he fired Luck two months after Callaway was signed, and only one day before McMahon pulled the plug on Luck’s contract. It should be fairly easy for Luck’s lawyers to show that McMahon fired Luck not because Callaway was signed but because McMahon no longer needed Luck, and because McMahon needed to straight-faced argument to support firing Luck for cause.
It’s the last defense left for McMahon. The presiding judge has ruled that McMahon can’t offer at trial a defense that Luck shared confidential information with football agent (and Luck’s brother-in-law) Will Wilson, that Luck used his company phone for personal matters, and that Luck abandoned his position when the pandemic began.
McMahon undoubtedly will be questioned aggressively about what he knew and when he knew it as to the Callaway signing, and why he didn’t fire Luck for cause sooner. Most people of reasonable intelligence and common sense will realize that McMahon only fired Luck for cause because the ship was sinking, — and that, but for the pandemic, Luck would have remained employed.