As I’m sure you’ve heard, Vladimir Putin is currently the proud owner of a Super Bowl ring — and not just any ring, but one formerly belonging to Patriots owner Robert Kraft. That fact made headlines recently after Mr. Kraft revealed that the ring had not been, as previously claimed, a gift:
Kraft originally said he had given the ring to Putin in 2005 as a gift out of “respect and admiration.” But Kraft told the crowd at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala that Putin swiped it and the White House intervened when he demanded it back.
I found myself feeling a little sorry for Kraft. But not too sorry, seeing as to how he has three of them and these guys — including OJ Simpson — have none. And they all actually played. Plus, he should have expected that the state might feel entitled to confiscate his personal property on a visit to the former USSR.
Still, Putin has since generously offered to craft Kraft a perfect replica (it’s somewhat unclear why he did not offer to keep the replica and return the actual ring — perhaps he considers it precioussssss*):
“You know, I do not remember Mr. Kraft, nor the ring. But if it’s like this – I remember that I was handed some souvenirs – if this is such a great value for Kraft and the respective team, I have a proposal,” Putin said at the Petersburg Economic Forum, according to Interfax.
“I will ask our factory to produce really good, significant, so we can see that this kind of thing is expensive and with good metal, and stone, so that this product can be passed from generation to generation of the team, which represents the interests of Mr. Kraft,” he said.
The whole “I do not remember this guy or his ring” schtick is a bit of a dick move, though in fairness to the autocrat, he did once “discover” those pots on an archaeological dive, so it’s probably tough for him to distinguish between what’s real and what’s fake (another reason he should keep the replica, not send it back to Boston). Even so, I wouldn’t complain: Putin’s offer might be a good way to put this international incident behind us without provoking World War III.
Meanwhile, I’m less interested in the saga of the ring than in Kraft’s account of the original incident — which set off some major alarm bells in light of certain ongoing investigations:
“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 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.”
Really? Putin’s first thought was, “I can kill someone with this ring?” To be fair, that might be Putin’s first thought about everything. But not everyone is blessed with Putin’s transcendent manliness (see photo above) — the rest of us typically have to use deadly implements of some kind, like candlesticks in the pantry with Colonel Mustard.
And so the real hero of this story: the New York Giants, for keeping a Super Bowl ring off of TE Aaron Hernandez’s hand.
*Amazingly, some random blog noted the physical resemblance two years ago, well before the story of ring-thievery broke earlier this month.