In 2005, New England Patriots owner "gave" his Super Bowl ring to Russian president Vladimir Putin as a gift. Except, the exchange wasn't copacetic. How would you react if Vladimir Putin put on your ring, said "I can kill someone with this ring," before leaving with three goons on his tail?Probably the same way Kraft did, if you're being completely honest.
According to existing records, Kraft gave the ring to Putin "as a symbol of the respect and admiration," for Putin and the mother Russia during a June 2005 meeting of prominent business executives at the time. Putin "was clearly taken with [the ring's] uniqueness," Kraft said at the time.
But taken is the most important word in that statement, according to the story Kraft told at the Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala, relayed in Saturday's New York Post. He now admits Putin took the ring without his consent:
“I took out the ring and showed it to [Putin], and he put it on and he goes, ‘I can kill someone with this ring,’ ” Kraft told the crowd at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala at the Waldorf-Astoria. “I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”
The Patriots were coming off their third Super Bowl victory of the that decade, so it's not like Kraft is at a complete loss. He still has two other diamond encrusted rings keeping his hands properly flossed in with triumph. Kraft did try to retrieve the ring, with White House help, but the government had other ideas. "It would really be in the best interest of US-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present," the White House told Kraft. Sorry, Mr. Kraft, but your Super Bowl ring was not worth irking the country's relationship with Russia. What Putin wants, he gets.
People are now celebrating the fact that Putin has more Super Bowl rings than Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez and Donovan McNabb combined. But, most importantly, this also means Putin has stolen half as many Super Bowl rings from the Patriots as the New York Giants.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.