This is a strange little story. The first reports that surfaced said that the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, stole Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots, Super Bowl ring. Now, Kraft is saying that he gave the ring to Putin as a gift in 2005. So, did Putin steal it or did Kraft willingly give away one of the most important possessions to a man in football ? (Actually, I would LOVE a SB ring).
On Thursday Kraft was being honoured at the Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala at the Waldorf-Astoria. When he gave his speech he told the crowd that in 2005 when he was visiting Russia Putin stole his ring. He said:
“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, according to the New York Post. “I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”
Kraft stated that he now wants his ring back. He said in 2005 he was told by President Bush it was in the best interest of America for Kraft to not attempt to retrieve the ring. Kraft’s personal statement in 2005 was that he gave the President the ring as a symbol of respect and admiration.
This is actually the second time that the story of the stolen ring surfaced. The first time it came up in 2007, Kraft’s wife, Myra, stated that Putin stole the ring.
After this retelling of the story on Thursday a spokesperson for Kraft came forward with a statement about the alleged incident:
“It’s a humorous, anecdotal story that Robert re-tells for laughs. He loves that his ring is at the Kremlin and, as he stated back in 2005, he continues to have great respect for Russia and the leadership of President Putin,” the statement said. “In particular, he credits President Putin for modernizing the Russian economy.”
It sounds like Kraft will not be getting his ring back. Whether President Obama told him to stand down or he came to his senses about the difficulty of retrieving the ring (or the consequences) , it is staying with the Kremlin. His back pedaling on his initial statement is also not surprising. You can’t go pointing fingers at the Russian presidet and not expect a backlash. This story will disappear, Kraft will console himself with his other two SB rings and Putin will polish his 25,000 ring and smile.