You might have forgotten about it, but way back in 2005, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and a group of assorted fellow businessmen, met with Russian president Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia, in a meeting which left Kraft one $25,000 Super Bowl XXXIX ring lighter. At the time Kraft told the media that the ring was given to Putin as a gift, because it really is the perfect present for the world leader who has everything. Here we are some seven years later, and Kraft is finally setting the record straight on “Ring Gate.”
Yep, turns out that Kraft didn’t actually give the ring to Putin, but rather that the Russian president stole it. Or borrowed it for the rest of his life. Either way, Kraft ain’t getting that $25,000 bit of bling back anytime soon.
From the NY Post…
“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.”
Kraft, though, really did want his ring back, but there was someone else, someone very important and powerful, who thought it’d be in everybody’s best interest if the ring stayed with Putin…former President George W. Bush.
But Kraft really wanted the 4.94-carat bauble back, he said Thursday, admitting he’d gotten a call from the George W. Bush-run White House, saying, “‘It would really be in the best interest of US-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present.” (In fact the Soviet Union had collapsed 14 years earlier.)
But, Kraft said, “I really didn’t [want to]. 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.’ ” The ring is now reportedly kept in the Kremlin library.
And there you have it. One the one hand it sucks for Bob Kraft to lose a one-of-a-kind memento like that, then have to try and save face by lying about gifting it to Putin, but on the other hand, you do have to admire the ballsy move by the Russian leader to pocket Kraft’s Super Bowl ring right from under his nose. Only the world’s foremost expert in badassery could have pulled off a brazen bit of thievery like that and gotten away with it.