In 2005, Patriots owner Robert Kraft joined several other American business leaders at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Putin left with Kraft’s Super Bowl ring. After questions arose about what happened, Kraft released a statement saying he had given Putin the ring as a present to show his respect for the people of Russia.
Now Kraft says that’s not exactly how it happened.
Kraft now says Putin took the ring without his permission, and that the George W. Bush White House urged him not to make an issue of the theft because of concerns about the incident damaging U.S.-Russian relations.
“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 said at a speech this week, 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 said he intended to do whatever he could to get the ring back from Putin, until the White House urged him to let it go.
“I really didn’t [want to]. I had an emotional tie to the ring, it has my name on it,” Kraft said. “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 so Kraft gave up his Super Bowl ring. We hope Putin didn’t actually kill someone with it.