Could the San Francisco 49ers be put up for sale?

By Vincent Frank

With all the drama surrounding the San Francisco 49ers this season, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that something big might be ready to take place within the organization itself.

Two weeks after the team demoted president Paraag Marathe — one of the few within CEO Jed York’s inner circle — comes this potentially huge piece of information from the venerable Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle indicating that it’s possible the 49ers could be put on the auction block.

Let’s be clear here. Ostler made sure to point out that the York family wouldn’t let word leak of a potential sale, mainly because it would set into motion yet another firestorm directed at those in charge in Santa Clara.

But by throwing in the name of billionaire Larry Ellison as a potential suitor, Ostler could very well be leading us on with some other inside information. Remember, the 49ers haven’t exactly been leak-proof in recent years.

The interesting dynamic here is that the demotion of Marathe from his role of president came less than a year after he (along with other front office personnel) won an internal battle with the departed Jim Harbaugh.

Remember, the decision to part ways with Harbaugh came amid strife between himself and certain factions of the front office, the former president himself included.

York — handed control of the 49ers organization on a silver platter — wouldn’t be that quick to admit a mistake. He definitely wouldn’t be that quick to demote a close ally.

Instead, there seems to be suggestions that Denise DeBartolo York, the actual owner of the team and Jed’s mother, might be playing the role of matriarch in the family business. This is to say, much like Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford, she’s fed up with the direction of the organization.

This may be pure speculation, but the involvement of Ellison in Ostler’s article brings us back to the Silicon Valley titan’s interest in purchasing the Golden State Warriors prior to the ownership group of Joe Lacob and Pete Guber winning a blind bid on the team back in 2010.

As someone that has long been interested in owning a Bay Area sports franchise, there couldn’t be a better opportunity for the co-founder and former CEO of Oracle.

This doesn’t even take into account the fact that, as Ostler point out, Ellison had previously shown interest in purchasing the 49ers.

The article goes on to indicate that even if a sale isn’t on the horizon, there are likely going to be further shakeups within the team’s front office.

Mike Holmgren, who had shown interest in the team’s head coaching opening prior to the promotion of Jim Tomsula in January, has been bandied about in a potential president/general manager role.

If that scenario were to play out, Jed York would find himself with less day-to-day operational power within the organization itself.

What this story does tell us is that the brass in Santa Clara understands full well that the recent issues afflicting the franchise cannot continue.

If the youngest York is to blame for this free fall into a laughingstock, his mom might be willing to hold him accountable.

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