Trump pardons ex-49ers owner DeBartolo Jr

Donald Trump told Jerry Rice (pictured) and other ex-NFL greats of a pardon for Edward DeBartolo Jr.
Donald Trump told Jerry Rice (pictured) and other ex-NFL greats of a pardon for Edward DeBartolo Jr.

US President Donald Trump has pardoned Edward DeBartolo Jr, the former San Francisco 49ers owner convicted in a gambling fraud scandal.

DeBartolo Jr, who built the San Francisco 49ers' 1980s-'90s dynasty, 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 $US400,000 ($A598,700) to former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards in exchange for a riverboat gambling licence.

The White House announced the surprise decision to reporters on Tuesday, along with NFL greats Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley.

Australian Associated Press