Ex-San Francisco 49ers Owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. Pardoned by Trump

With DeBartolo Jr. as owner, the 49ers five Super Bowls in the ‘80s and ‘90s

Ex-San Francisco 49ers Owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. Pardoned by Trump
Hall of Fame enshrinee owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. in 2016. (Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / February 18, 2020 2:47 pm

On Tuesday, President Trump pardoned the former NFL owner who presided over one of the most successful Super Bowl dynasties in league history.

Convicted in a gambling fraud scandal after he pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony for paying $400,000 to former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards in exchange for a riverboat gambling license, former 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr. was pardoned by Trump at the White House with a number of NFL greats in attendance.

DeBartolo, who hired Bill Walsh in 1979 and oversaw the team as it won five Super Bowls from 1982 to 1995, avoided prison following his guilty plea but was fined $1 million and suspended for a year by the NFL.

Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016, DeBartolo gave control of the team to his sister, Denise DeBartolo York, following his suspension and never returned to the NFL. DeBartolo’s nephew, Jed York, now runs the team.

Jerry Rice, who played on three of DeBartolo’s Super Bowl-winning teams, said the former owner “was like that 12th man” of the great 49ers teams, according to The Associated Press.

“He’s the main reason why we won so many Super Bowls,” Rice said. “So today is a great day for him. I’m glad to be here and be a part of that. It’s just something I will never forget. This man, he has done so much in the community, has done so much in NFL football.”

Trump has granted pardons to 18 other individuals, according to the Justice Department.

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