Feb 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump pardons former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr.

Edward DeBartolo, Jr. speaks during his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech in 2016. Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

President Trump pardoned former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., a billionaire convicted in 1998 on gambling fraud charges, in a surprise decision on Tuesday, the AP reports.

The big picture: Under DeBartolo's ownership, the 49ers won five Super Bowls, establishing a dynasty during the 1980s and 1990s. He avoided prison time, but faced a $1 million fine and a yearlong NFL suspension — ultimately relinquishing control of the team to his sister, Denise York, in 2000.

  • DeBartolo has been a known supporter of the president, hosting a pre-inauguration party in 2017 that featured various then-Trumpworld associates like Michael Cohen and Omarosa Manigault Newman. Trump promoted the event on Twitter.
  • The Washington Post's Philip Bump notes that Youngstown, Ohio, is DeBartolo's hometown — and the decision could be a calculated move to shore up the president's base in an industrial section of the swing state.

What they're saying: The White House announced the pardon with 49ers legends Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley in attendance.

  • "He’s the main reason why we won so many Super Bowls," said Rice. "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."

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Trump pardons the swamp

Rod Blagojevich in 2010. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Trump announced Tuesday that he would commute former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's 14-year prison sentence for extortion, bribery and corruption — as well as issue full pardons for former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., former NYPD Commissioner Bernie Kerik and financier Michael Milken.

The big picture: The president's clemency spree largely benefitted white-collar criminals convicted of crimes like corruption, gambling fraud and racketeering, undercutting his message of "draining the swamp."

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NFL will hold draft as scheduled but cancel public events due to coronavirus

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The NFL announced Monday that it will hold its 2020 draft next month as scheduled, but will cancel the planned public events in Las Vegas due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The big picture: The league said the selection process will still be televised, adding that it is exploring "innovative options" for conducting the draft in such a climate.

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Tom Brady announces he's leaving the New England Patriots

Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Tom Brady announced Tuesday he will leave the New England Patriots and continue his NFL career "elsewhere" next season.

Why it matters: Brady has played his entire career with the team, winning six Super Bowls since entering the league in 2000.

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