Did Vladimir Putin steal a Super Bowl ring? Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, tells a story that makes it seem possible. While speaking at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala, Kraft talked about meeting the Russian president in 2005.
During the meeting, Kraft says he pulled out his Super Bowl ring to show Putin. According to the team owner, Putin “put it on and he goes, ‘I can kill someone with this ring’.” Then, instead of giving it back to Kraft, he pocketed the ring. Kraft says three “KGB guys” then surrounded Putin and walked out.
At that point the White House got involved. Kraft says he received a call from the White House, informing him that in the best interest of relations between the U.S. and Russia, he should say it was a gift. Kraft latter issued a statement to that effect.
Putin has a bit of a different take on the story, CNN reports. While he agreed the ring, which is encrusted with 124 diamonds, changed hands in 2005, he claims it was definitely a gift. Sunday (June 16), the Russian president’s spokesman offered a statement on the matter. “What Mr. Kraft is saying now is weird. I was standing 20 centimeters away from him and Mr. Putin and saw and heard how Mr. Kraft gave this ring as a gift.”
The ring currently sits in the Kremlin library, along with other official state gifts. That’s likely where it will stay, as Kraft’s spokesman also commented on the story Sunday. He claims the tale is nothing more than a humorous anecdote Kraft tells for laughs.
That may be the last time Kraft tells the story for kicks, if it becomes a big enough issue to get an official rebuttal all the way from Russia.