Robert Kraft: Vladimir Putin stole my Super Bowl ring
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told an incredible story on Friday about how one of his Super Bowl rings wound up in the hands of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Back in 2005, Kraft released a statement to the public informing them that he had given his $25,000 championship ring to Putin because he Putin was so “taken” by it.
“President Putin, a great and knowledgable sports fan, was clearly taken with its uniqueness,” Kraft said at the time. “I decided to give him the ring as a symbol of the respect and admiration that I have for the Russian people and [his] leadership.”
But on Friday, Kraft told the NY Post that Putin straight up stole the ring.
“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 a crowd at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala.“I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”
Kraft said he really wanted the ring back, but the exchange became an issue of foreign relations. As if this story wasn’t already insane enough, Kraft went on to say that former US president George W. Bush called him and asked him to let Putin keep the ring.
” ‘It would really be in the best interest of US-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present,’ ” Kraft recalled Bush telling him.
He said Bush repeated the sentiment again, stressing how important it was that he let Putin keep the hardware.
“I really didn’t [want to give it up],” Kraft explained. “I had an emotional tie to the ring, it has my name on it. I don’t want to see it on eBay. There was a pause on the other end of the line, and the voice repeated, ‘It would really be in the best interest if you meant to give the ring as a present.’ ”
And that, he says, was that. Perhaps Kraft was sipping some of the same stuff he was sipping when he gave this speech before he told the story about Putin. If he was indeed telling the truth, that has to be one of the most unlikely stories we have ever heard.