The XFL, for better or for worse, is back.
And the biggest question the league faces ahead of its 2020 revival is obvious: Who on Earth will play in Vince McMahon’s fledgling football league?
The WWE chairman and CEO announced the return of the XFL — which was canceled after one season in 2001 — in a press conference Thursday. The boisterous billionaire discussed a variety of possible rules and guidelines, including which players the league will allow on the field. When asked whether the XFL would welcome former NFL quarterbacks Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel and Colin Kaepernick, McMahon offered the following:
“The quality of human being is very important and just as important as the quality of the player,” McMahon said. “What I mean by that is you want someone who does not have any criminality associated with them whatsoever. And even if you have a DUI, you will not play in the XFL. That will probably eliminate some of them. Not all of them. If Tim Tebow wants to play, he could very well play.”
That would seem to eliminate Manziel from consideration. But while McMahon said the XFL would welcome Tebow, he failed to mention Kaepernick, whose political activism is something McMahon says the XFL won’t offer a platform for.
However, McMahon later was asked specifically about Kaepernick, and he expressed openness to employing the former San Francisco 49ers QB.
“Anyone who plays the game of football well and meets our criteria in terms of quality of human being, why not?” McMahon said. “As long as everyone abides by the rules as laid down.”
That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but tepid approval is better than no approval at all.
So, as long as Kaepernick stays out of trouble, it appears he still could have a future in “professional” football. And the XFL might be just what he needs because while the 30-year-old surely still wants to play in the NFL, it’s fair to wonder whether he’ll ever be given the chance to return.
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