Vince McMahon was adamant Johnny Manziel would not be part of the XFL, and he was serious about it.
He even went as far to order the league’s Commissioner and CEO Oliver Luck to keep him out of the football league, per Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic.
“How long R U going to play this game Oliver? U know there is NO CHANCE IN HELL for Manziel to play for us,” McMahon sent in a text. “I will NOT change my mind. So what’s Ur plan??”
As Luck later revealed, the public discussion was a marketing ploy.
“Vince—we have no intention of signing him, none whatsoever. We’re just milking the story to stay in the news,” he responded.
Fast forward to present day and McMahon is currently countersuing Luck over breach of contract, claiming the commissioner disobeyed orders to not allow players with bad backgrounds.
When he restarted the 2.0 version of the league, McMahon instituted strict rules on player behavior that included no players with a criminal record and no kneeling for the national anthem.
The Heisman Trophy winner pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in 2012 after being arrested following a fight in Texas. That was just one of many as he was also investigated for alleged domestic battery against his girlfriend in 2016.
Luck was fired and later filed a lawsuit against McMahon for the remaining $23.8 million on his contract.
The XFL has since been sold to a group led by Dwayne Johnson and his ex-wife.