Putin, Patriots owner at odds over ownership of Super Bowl ring
June 16, 2013
Russian President Vladimir Putin's personal life has recently become more a matter of public knowledge with the public announcement of his impending divorce. However, Putin recently made the news yet again for a decidedly stranger personal story. Robert Kraft, owner of the National Football League's New England Patriots, recently accused the Russian head of state of stealing Kraft's Super Bowl ring. According to CNN, Putin is vehemently denying the accusations. The fact that this story is far outside the purview of the typical scandals that ensnare politicians virtually guarantees that it may be a hot topic of conversations between Russians using an international calling card.
The news source reported that Kraft handed Putin the ring to examine it when the Patriots owner visited St. Petersburg, Russia. Kraft alleges that Putin walked out still holding it in the company of KGB agents. Putin's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, stated that Kraft gave the ring to the president as a gift.
The monetary value of the personally engraved, diamond encrusted ring is estimated at over $25,000, and the cultural significance of a Super Bowl ring is undoubtedly paramount to any football player or team owner. Peskov told CNN that the ring currently resides in the library of the Kremlin. As yet, the New England Patriots have not officially commented on the matter as an organization.
ESPN reported that Kraft made these statements at Carnegie Hall's Medal of Excellence ceremony in New York City on June 13, speaking to the crowd at the event. He went on to claim that he'd been asked directly by the White House, under the administration of President George W. Bush, to state publicly that the ring had been a gift - which he did in 2005.