Vince McMahon and Oliver Luck have quickly dispelled the theory that opposites attract. Their brief XFL marriage is in divorce court and it’s quickly turning ugly. McMahon, the owner of the XFL, hired Luck as CEO of the league this year when the XFL made its return to the professional football circuit. McMahon fired Luck from his position just days before the league filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Things have been messy ever since.
Vince McMahon compared to Oliver Luck
If they were brothers, Vince McMahon would be the wild child, while Oliver Luck would be the studious one. McMahon is widely known as a very successful professional wrestling promoter. He’s also the owner and CEO of WWE. His personality took on that of a pro wrestler and McMahon was known to be brash, cocky, and arrogant.
Luck is the complete opposite. After his NFL career as a backup quarterback, Luck earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas School of Law. Luck went on to become the Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at West Virginia University, his alma mater. He has also been an executive with the NCAA and was the general manager for both the Frankfurt Galaxy and the Rhein Fire of the World League of American Football. He is the father of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
McMahon and Oliver Luck teamed up this year to help bring back the XFL, an offseason professional football league that originated back in 2001. The XFL attempted to compete with the NFL by incorporating wrestling gimmicks into its football play, but the interest just wasn’t there. The league folded after its inaugural season.
McMahon hires Luck to help revitalize the XFL
The XFL returned to action in 2020 and Vince McMahon wanted to get away from the flare that was brought on by wrestling tactics that were incorporated during its inaugural season. In June of 2018, McMahon hoped to stabilize the league and give it more football legitimacy by hiring Oliver Luck, an intelligent man with a strong football background.
McMahon was very involved in the day-to-day operations in the XFL’s first go-round. He wouldn’t have to do that with the hiring of Luck and Luck was excited to be a part of Round 2 for the league. “Football has always been a constant in my life and I’m excited about the unique opportunity to present America’s favorite sport to fans in a new way,” said Luck in a league press release posted on sbnation.com. “The XFL will create first-class organizations that local cities across the country will be proud of.”
After five weeks of play, the league halted play due to the spread of COVID-19. One month later, the XFL ceased operations and laid off its employees. McMahon fired Luck by letter “for cause” just days before the league filed for bankruptcy. Luck was scheduled to make $5 million annually, according to ESPN.
Luck files suit, while McMahon justifies firing
In a federal lawsuit filed in mid-April, Oliver Luck claimed he was wrongfully dismissed from his duties as CEO of the XFL. In a CBS Sports article, Luck’s lawsuit claims “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.”
McMahon, however, said Luck failed to devote all his business time to the league. McMahon’s attorneys wrote that 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,” according to Fox News.
While the XFL’s play on the football field wasn’t entertaining enough for fans in two separate attempts, the McMahon vs. Luck battle could prove to be more interesting than the product.