Putin Steals Patriots Owner Kraft’s Ring

Russian president Vladimir Putin stole Bob Kraft’s Super Bowl ring. Making the best of a bad situation, Kraft now claims it was a present.

Patriots owner: I gave ring to Putin (AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin walked off with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s diamond-encrusted 2005 Super Bowl ring during a recent meeting with U.S. business executives. But not to worry: Kraft says the ring was a gift to Putin, presented out of “respect and admiration.” Earlier, Russian media had speculated that Kraft hadn’t meant to give away the ring.

“I showed the president my most recent Super Bowl ring,” Kraft said in a statement released Wednesday. The Russian president “was clearly taken with its uniqueness,” Kraft said. “At that point, I decided to give him the ring as a symbol of the respect and admiration that I have for the Russian people and the leadership of President Putin,” Kraft said.

Putin met with the businessmen Saturday at Konstantinovsky Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia. Near the end of the meeting, Kraft took off the ring, and handed it to Putin. Putin tried it on, put it in his pocket and left, according to Russian news reports.

According to Patriots spokesman Stacey James, the ring — which is encrusted with 124 diamonds — has a value of “substantially more” than the previously reported $15,000.

Yeah, right. As James Carville noted on ESPN’s PTI this evening, people in Putin’s position are used to being given lavish presents by people trying to curry favor and it was likely a misunderstanding. I don’t believe for an instant, though, that it was Kraft’s intention to give away his ring.

Kraft can afford another ring, of course, and there’s no way to clear up this misunderstanding without offending Putin, so Kraft has to suck it up.

I received an e-mail tip by (JP at USA Newsblog) on this story this morning but hadn’t gotten around to looking into it.

FILED UNDER: Europe, James Joyner, Sports
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Command and Staff College, Marine Corps University, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.


  1. England Patriots have never been afraid to let players — even “core” players — walk away if the team doesn’t think they’re worth the money. That’s the Patriot Way. And the Patriot Way has put three rings on Bob Kraft’s fingers, not to mention one on Vladimir Putin’s, so you can’t discount their way of doing business. But if I’m Tom Brady, questions are starting to bubble up inside my pretty head. About this time last year, Brady’s own three Super Bowl rings were clinking against a conference table as he


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  3. Anderson says:

    Now let’s see if the next batch of history books printed in Russia include Putin’s winning the Super Bowl.