As every player in the NFL knows, it’s not easy to get your hands on a Super Bowl ring. It’s even harder when one of them gets taken away from you like Vladamir Putin once did.
The president of Russia has a Super Bowl ring that he never earned and it was not gifted to him. Way back in 2005, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was in Russia with a friend, Sandy Weill, who was the president of Citi group at the time. Kraft had just received his ring for the Pats’ win in Super Bowl XXXIX, so he decided to show the ring to Weill.
After seeing it, Weill thought it would be a great idea to show Putin. That would turn out to be a terrible idea.
Kraft actually did an interview about the ring for an episode of NFL Films.
The Patriots owner actually recounted the story for the first time back in 2013.
“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 in 2013. “I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”
Putin walked off but Kraft wanted his ring back. However, he ended up giving up on his quest to get the ring back when White House called and told Kraft that starting World War III over a Super Bowl ring probably wouldn’t be the best idea.
“It would really be in the best interest of US-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present,” Kraft said he was told on the White House call in 2005. “I really didn’t [want to]. I had an emotional tie to the ring, it has my name on it. 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.'”
Days later, Kraft released a statement to say his ring was now officially a “gift” to Russia.
“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’s 2005 statement said.
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