By Terrance Turner
The XFL announced late Thursday that it will suspend the remainder of its season, presumably due to coronavirus concerns. In so doing, the league is following the lead of the NBA, MLB, MLR and MLS. The league commissioner, Oliver Luck, said that all players will be paid base pay and benefits. All ticket holders will receive refunds.
According to NFL.com, “the XFL is advising players that they can sign immediately with teams in the NFL or any other league once their exit physicals are complete on Friday”, which means that by 2021, many current XFL players will be gone. Already, some NFL scouts have shown interest in Houston Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker.
Of all the blows to the sports world this season, this one is the most heartbreaking. The NBA season was practically over anyway (and the loss of Kobe Bryant would’ve overshadowed any NBA Finals action, IMHO). The MLB season hasn’t even started, and did we really need another 18,000 stories about the Astros’ cheating scandal? Major League Soccer and Major League Rugby, with all due, are still secondary in the world of Houston sports (according to me). The XFL was just getting started, and now there are doubts about how (or even if) it will continue.
I want to thank the XFL for issuing me a press credential and for providing me my first experience inside a pro football locker room. I want to thank every player who spoke to me and answered my questions: P.J. Walker, James Butler, Nick Holley, and Andre Williams. (Special shout-out to Tejan Koroma for directing me to the Week 3 press conference.) I should also thank Nick Holley for agreeing to a follow-up interview on Saturday AND gamely participating in a joint interview with his twin brother Nate. (I’ll upload that later this weekend.) And thanks to newly signed linebacker Brian Peters, who amiably conversed with me while I waited for other players to enter the locker room. I somehow held a 10-15 minute conversation with this man without realizing that A) he played for the Texans for four years and B) I follow him on Instagram!
This has been an incredible ride. I’ll never forget it.