49ers set up fund to help retired players, pledge millions

By Vincent Frank

The San Francisco 49ers’ organization may be in the midst of some turmoil as their team shows itself to be hapless on the field. Current CEO Jed York may also find himself without a job sometime soon. The same can be said for general manager Trent Baalke and head coach Chip Kelly.

Such is the nature of the beast when you’re overseeing a team that boasts a 1-12 record and has lost a franchise worst 12 consecutive games.

This doesn’t mean the 49ers’ organization and those associated with it aren’t among the most respected in the football world.

The team’s announcement Wednesday that it has set up the Golden Heart Fund to help former players overcome financial obstacles is yet another example of this.

Teaming up with former owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., the York family (current owners of the 49ers) continue to do what they can in the community. DeBartolo Jr. as well as the Yorks have both pledged $1 million to get the fund itself off the ground.

In making the announcement, CEO Jed York had this to say.

“The 49ers family extends well beyond the football field, which is why supporting the Golden Heart Fund is a priority for our organization,” said 49ers CEO Jed York, via the team’s official website. “We have a deep-rooted sense of duty to support our alumni who have provided so much to our storied franchise and our Faithful fans. Family is there for one another in times of need and the formation of the fund will ensure our former players are cared for well into the future. What makes this program so special is that it is an alumni-led project that Harris, Ron, Brent, and Ronnie have championed and brought to fruition.”

York’s reference there is to former players Harris Barton, Ron Ferrari, Brent Jones and Ronnie Lot, all of whom will play integral roles within the fund itself.

The league’s treatment of former players, those who took to the field before millions in cold hard cash were thrown around the NFL, has long been brought into question.

The 49ers are just the latest team to take a hands-on approach here, pretty much thumbing their nose at the NFL in the process.

Say what you want about the 49ers on the field, they continue to be a shining display of how an organization should treat those who made it successful in the past. This is just the latest example of that.