Attorneys for Vince McMahon's argued in court this week he was justified in firing XFL CEO Oliver Luck last month just prior to the league ceasing operations, according to The Associated Press.
As previously reported, Luck filed a federal lawsuit over his firing on April 9. Luck alleges McMahon breached his contract and is seeking $23.8 million.
McMahon's attorneys claim Luck was fired for cause, alleging he failed to devote all of his business time to XFL responsibilities. Per McMahon's defense, Luck, "effectively abandoned his responsibilities as the CEO and Commissioner of the XFL at a time when the league faced its most significant crisis –– the threat to its business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic."
Luck is also accused of ignoring a directive from McMahon not to hire players with "questionable or problematic backgrounds" as well as improperly using a league cell phone.
Paul Dobrowski, who is Luck's attorney, states the allegations are without merit.
"No one at the time said, 'Oliver you're not following XFL policy.' Or sent him a notice letter, which would have been required under his contract," he said.
The $23.8 million Luck is seeking includes $800,000 in base salary for the remaining two months of his 2019-20 contract, a $2 million bonus for the 2019-20 contract year and $21 million in salary and bonuses on the remaining three years of his XFL deal.
The XFL announced last month they would cease operations just weeks after announcing they were ending their 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally, the plan was to return for a season in 2021, however, the league later filed bankruptcy.
The XFL's return was met with high marks from critics due to innovative rules and exciting uptempo play. The league landed TV deals with ABC, FOX, ESPN, ESPN 2 and FS1. However, viewership steadily declined each week before the COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to shut down.