WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has signed an executive order granting a full pardon to former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. related to a decades-old corruption charge, the White House said Tuesday.
DeBartolo, who presided over one of the greatest dynasties in football, pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony when he paid former Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards $400,000 to help secure a casino license. DeBartolo had to pay a $1 million fine and was given two years probation in return for his testimony against Edwards, a Democrat.
DeBartolo was banned from the NFL for a year and turned over control of the team to his sister in 2000. While he was the team’s owner, the 49ers won five Super Bowls in 14 seasons. He was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2016. His family had made their fortune as shopping mall developers.
The White House held a brief press event Tuesday to announce the pardon with four Hall of Famers on hand: Jerry Rice, Charles Haley, Ronnie Lott (who all played for the 49ers) and Jim Brown. The four said they had met with Trump to discuss DeBartolo.
"Today is a great day for him," said Rice, who won three Super Bowls with the 49ers under DeBartolo’s ownership. "I'm glad to be here and be a part of that. And you know, it's just something I'll never forget. You know, this man, he has done so much in the community, he has done so much in NFL football."
"I take my hat off to Donald Trump for what he did," Rice said.
Trump has issued 19 pardons since taking office.