New allegations against former XFL Commissioner & CEO Oliver Luck were revealed today with federal court filings in Connecticut, where Luck is suing former XFL owner Vince McMahon for breach of contract over his April 9 dismissal, which came four days before the league filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
Vince’s attorneys say Luck was fired for “gross neglect” of his job during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, for personal use of a league-issued iPhone, and for signing former NFL player Antonio Callaway despite Vince’s orders to avoid players with troubled legal histories, according to a new report from Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily.
These details were originally redacted in Luck’s original lawsuit, but Vince’s legal team detailed some of the complaints in a pre-trial motion, which was posted publicly today. According to today’s filing, McMahon listed these three reasons for firing Luck:
* Luck left the XFL’s HQ in Connecticut for his home in Indiana on March 13 and “disengage[d] from the XFL’s operations.” Vince further claimed that 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.”
* Luck used his league-issued iPhone for personal matters
* Luck signed former NFL player Antonio Callaway, who played wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, to a draft contract promising him a $125,000 signing bonus, allegedly without informing McMahon. Luck was aware that Vince asked for final approval rights to any players with a questionable background. The filing says “Luck failed to promptly terminate Callaway in accordance with McMahon’s instructions” and then Callaway injured his knee while practicing for the Tampa Bay Vipers, which triggered medical costs and worker’s compensation costs for the league. The filing said, “The cost to the XFL of this episode of gross negligence was in excess of six figures.”
Luck’s original lawsuit said he “wholly disputes and rejects the allegations” listed in the termination letter he received from Vince and he “contends they are pretextual and devoid of merit.”
Vince acknowledged that he personally guaranteed XFL parent company Alpha Entertainment’s contract with Luck. That personal guarantee provides the basis for Luck to sue Vince, rather than file an appeal to the United States Bankruptcy court overseeing the end of the league. The guarantee would be moot if a court finds the reasons for Luck’s dismissal were valid. Today’s filing also said Luck’s contract called for $5 million in annual salary, plus a $2 million annual bonus.
Today’s filing was signed by Jerry McDevitt, a longtime attorney for Vince and WWE. The filing was in opposition to a request by Luck’s legal team for a pre-judgment award of damages, on the basis that his suit was likely to succeed, which would be allowed under certain circumstances.
Stay tuned for updates on Luck’s lawsuit against Vince, and the end of the XFL. You can click here for our recent report on the final days of the league with what went down, Vince’s original response to the Luck lawsuit, and more.
damien demento contributed to this article.