WASHINGTON – AP – President Donald Trump has pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr., the former San Francisco 49ers owner convicted in a gambling fraud scandal.
DeBartolo Jr. built the San Francisco 49ers’ 1980s-’90s dynasty. He was involved in one of the biggest owners’ scandals in the sport’s history.
In 1998, he pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony when he paid $400,000 to former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards in exchange for a riverboat gambling license.
The White House announced the surprise decision to reporters Tuesday.
A handful of NFL legends were in attendance for the announcement, including Jerry Rice, Derrick Brooks and Jim Brown.
“We are excited to be here for all the right reasons,” former NFL player Ronnie Lott said as he stood in front of the White House. “You think of people who find their ways into your life to help you, deliver a certain compass. You find yourself realizing that a day like this is great because of the fact that he (DeBartolo) understands his compass, but what you can achieve. So really excited for Mr. DeBartolo.”
DeBartolo’s sister took controlling ownership of the 49ers in 2001 and her family now runs the team, according to Forbes, who said DeBartolo’s net worth is $2.6 billion.