Vince McMahon is fighting back.
USA Today reports McMahon has countersued former XFL commissioner Oliver Luck for $572,792 in Connecticut federal court. The suit, filed on Thursday, claims Luck ignored McMahon’s orders in relations to league personnel decisions and that Luck basically ignored his duties once the pandemic forced the league to freeze operations in March 2020.
Luck had already been attempting to sue McMahon for breach of contract after he’d been fired; Luck is seeking the remaining $23.8 million he is owed as outlined in his contract, in addition to other damages and attorney fees.
According to McMahon’s suit, one player that Luck ignored his direction on was former NFL wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who signed with the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers. McMahon maintained that the league hired “quality football players with good character” and Luck ignored the fact that Callway was kicked out of the NFL due to a substance abuse violation and had a prior suspension due to credit card fraud. Callaway was still put on the Tampa Bay roster, and although he got injured and never played a game, he was still owed his $120,000 signing bonus in addition to worker’s compensation.
The amount McMahon is suing for would cover Callaway’s contract and worker’s compensation in addition to Luck’s compensation from March 14th through April 9th. The specific dates outlined are those that McMahon said Luck went home to Indiana instead of staying in Connecticut to manage league business. Other notable claims in the suit saw McMahon name three other players exhibiting poor character, including former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who had been suspended for the 2016 NFL season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, and an anonymous player who had been banned from the university where his XFL team was practicing due to a past sexual assault charge. The third player named was former Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, whose off-field issues apparently caused a rift and led to McMahon texting Luck that “there is NO CHANCE IN HELL for Manziel to play for us.”
Luck claimed Manziel’s signing was an attempt at headlines; his attorneys issued a statement to The Athletic claiming McMahon’s suit was just a way to deflect attention away from Luck seeking the money he was owed.
McMahon eventually filed for bankruptcy and sold the league to an ownership group led by Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia. The league plans to relaunch in 2022.