At a recent business event, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft told everyone the real story behind how Russian president Vladimir Putin ended up with his Super Bowl ring after a 2005 meeting.
Kraft explained the incident happened while he and other business execs were in St. Petersburg.
“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 released a statement at the time, “President Putin, a great and knowledgable sports fan, was clearly taken with its uniqueness. 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 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.)