Patriots Owner Robert Kraft: Vladimir Putin Stole My Super Bowl Ring

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft says that Russian President Vladimir Putin stole  one of his Super Bowl rings:

New England Patriots ownerRobert Kraft told people for years that he gave Russian president Vladimir Putin one of his Super Bowl rings, but according to a report from the New York Post, Putin actually stole the $25,000 ring.

Kraft explained the incident to those in attendance at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala, saying, “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.’ I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”

It was during the 2005 meeting with Putin in Saint Petersburg that the president became enamored with the ring and came into possession of it, but the drama for Kraftdidn’t stop there.

After returning to the states and demanding his ring back, the White House reportedly intervened. At the behest of the American government, Kraft was instructed to claim the ring was a gift in order to ease possible tensions between the Russians and the United States.

According to the report, the government told Kraft, “It would really be in the best interest of US-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present.”

While the Patriots owner continued to tell officials that he wanted his “4.94-carat bauble” back, the White House reiterated that it would be best to claim it was a gift and leave it at that.

I’m sure that when the White House spoke to Kraft, they actually referred to U.S./Russian relations, the “Soviet” line is likely a misstatement on Kraft’s part. In any event, though, this one has to qualify as the most bizarre blend of sports and international relations in quite some time.

Update: Well, here’s the rest of the story.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    Kraft will be able to get it back on the ‘secondary market.’

    Besides, what does anyone do with those blinged-out ugly gaudy rings anyway?

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Then it’s war!

  3. Dazedandconfused says:

    Letter to Vladimir Putin:


    Perhaps I can explain the reason for the strange (as it no doubt appears to be from your perspective) behavior of Mr. Kraft.

    While inappropriate assumption of equal social status with heads of state remains relatively rare in your culture, and quickly dealt with, in ours it is in fact quite typical. Incredible as this must seem to you, Mr President, when this paper-peddler approached you he actually considered himself to be your peer! When he handed you this ring, something that any cultured person would view as a grotesque (but those are real diamonds!) trinket, he was attempting to male-bond with a “good buddy” by letting you play with what was, to him, (I swear I am not making this up) actually his most treasured possession!

    His reaction, stunned silence, seemed to be only silence to you. Your desire not to insult this blabbering fool by rejecting his hideous “gift” was most commendable.

    There is a way to resolve this without embarrassing this poor man. Have you heard of a pose called the “Tebow”? Images of it can be found by using “google image”. The “Tebow” translates roughly as “I’m sorry”.

    Allow me, if you will, Mr. President, to suggest an excellent gesture to resolve this. Have a picture taken of yourself performing the “Tebow” with the ring in front of you. I’m quite certain he will “get it”, as they say here in America.

    Best Wishes.