On Tuesday morning, former owner of the San Francisco 49ers Eddie DeBartolo Jr was granted clemency for his 1998 felony conviction by President Donald Trump, thanks to an executive order signed by Trump. If you’re unfamiliar with the story, back in the 90s, Eddie wanted to get a riverboat casino license. The then governor wanted a bribe, so Eddie gave it to him and was busted as part of a sting of some sort. DeBartolo Jr. entered a plea bargain and testified against the governor, which in turn was part of the reason that led DeBartolo to lose the 49ers. DeBartolo eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to report a felony and receiving a $1 million fine and two years of probation in return for his testimony against Edwin Edwards, who was the governor of Louisana at the time. Not only did Bartolo never receive the license, but he was fined by the NFL and barred from active control of the 49ers for a year. Instead of returning to the team, DeBartolo ceded control of the organization to his sister, Denise York, in 2000.
DeBartolo was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016, with the 49ers winning all five of the franchise’s Super Bowls under DeBartolo. He has made attempts to rehabilitate his image, and I imagine today’s White House visit was another step in that direction. There was another former 49er at the White House on Tuesday. Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice, Charles Haley, and Ronnie Lott were all on hand.
Jerry Rice and other ex-NFL players are at the White House today.— Josh Wingrove (@josh_wingrove) February 18, 2020
Trump has pardoned Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the former owner of the 49ers who bribed a Louisiana governor.
"I take my hat off to Donald Trump for what he did," Rice said. pic.twitter.com/PzEihlyCPy
All three players successfully lobbied Trump to pardon DeBartolo. Their dedication to DeBartolo is evident. I can understand how some might not like the fact that this is how you’d use your power, considering there are people out there who actually need pardons, so this may come off as an unnecessary action. Also, groups of people tend to stick together. In this case, that’s the rich.