When Vince McMahon rebooted the XFL, one of his most important hires was commissioner Oliver Luck. With the XFL shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, McMahon finds himself at legal odds with Luck, who is suing his former boss for wrongful termination.
In a federal lawsuit filed last week in Connecticut, Luck claims that “Despite fulfilling his obligations as Commissioner and CEO since May 30, 2018, Mr. Luck was wrongfully terminated by Alpha Entertainment LLC (“Alpha”), an affiliate of Defendant, on April 9, 2020. Thus, Alpha has repudiated Mr. Luck’s employment agreement. Mr. Luck brings this action for breach of contract and declaratory judgment against McMahon.”
The XFL laid off practically all its employees on April 10, nearly one month after deciding to cancel the 2020 season six weeks into it. The league then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy the following week, on April 13. Per Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, the lawsuit says that Alpha, in its bankruptcy motion, filed to have the court reject “Certain Executive Contracts.” In response, Luck’s complaint says that he “wholly disputes and rejects the allegations set forth in the Termination Letter and contends they are pretextual and devoid of merit,” suggesting Luck was fired with cause.
Luck, the father of former NFL star Andrew Luck, was reportedly on a $20 million deal and it’s possible he gets some, or all, of that through the bankruptcy filing, depending on the verbiage of his contract. However, Luck is taking legal action to at least try to ensure he recoups as much as possible.
By filing for Chapter 11, the XFL is leaving the door ever-so-slightly cracked that it could return. The league plans a sale by July 15, which would include the name, trademarks, intellectual property, equipment, etc. Whether anybody buys the league in this climate remains to be seen.