Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Claims Putin Walked off With His Super Bowl Ring

"Give me my f---ing ring back, will ya?" Kraft said in a message to the Russian president.


May 6 2024, Published 11:45 a.m. ET

Vladimir Putin attends a Day of Remembrance and Sorrow ceremony on June 22, 2023, in Moscow, Russia
Source: Getty Images

Vladimir Putin

If you’ve seen coverage of The Roast of Tom Brady, you may have seen Robert Kraft deliver a strongly worded message to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“And one more thing, in case, Vladimir Putin, you’re watching, give me my f--king ring back, will ya?” the New England Patriots owner said during the roast, as seen on social media.

So, um, exactly why does Putin have a Super Bowl ring?

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The backstory dates back to 2005, when the Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles at Super Bowl XXXIX, reports. Here’s the scoop — and the conflicting reports.

Robert Kraft attends the Super Bowl LIII Pregame at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019, in Atlanta, Ga.
Source: Getty Images
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Why does Putin have a Super Bowl ring?

Putin got a 2005 Super Bowl ring from Kraft in 2005, but it’s unclear whether Kraft meant to give the ring away.

Kraft and other U.S. businessmen got face time with Putin at a meeting near St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2005 following Super Bowl XXXIX. Russian media reported at the time that Kraft gave Putin the ring near the end of the meeting and that Putin put it in his pocket and walked off, according to The Associated Press.

In a statement, Kraft said he had gifted Putin with the ring. “I showed the president my most recent Super Bowl ring. [Putin] was clearly taken with its uniqueness,” Kraft said in a statement. (Uniqueness is one word for it: The ring is encrusted with 124 diamonds.)

“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 added.

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A senior Kremlin official informed The Associated Press that Putin then gave the ring to the Kremlin library, which hosts a collection of foreign gifts.

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Years after the handoff, Kraft said he didn’t intend to gift Putin with the ring.

Kraft offered a different version of events during at a New York City gala in 2013, according to Page Six.

“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 gala crowd, Page Six reported at the time.“I put my hand out, and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”

Kraft said he later got a call from then-U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration, saying, “It would really be in the best interest of U.S.-Soviet relations if you meant to give the ring as a present.” (Kraft likely meant to say “U.S.-Russian relations” in his recollection of that call, since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.)

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The billionaire said he “really didn’t want to” give up his claim to that piece of jewelry. “I had an emotional tie to the ring, it has my name on it. I don’t want to see it on eBay,” he said. “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.’”

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Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesperson, denied that version of events. “What Mr. Kraft is saying now is weird,” Peskov said at the time, per CNN. “I was standing 20 centimeters away from him and Mr. Putin and saw and heard how Mr. Kraft gave this ring as a gift.”

And Kraft’s anecdote was even contradicted in a statement from Kraft Group spokesperson Stacey James. “[Kraft] loves that the ring is at the Kremlin and, as he stated back in 2005, he continues to have great respect for Russia and the leadership of President Putin,” James said, according to CNN.

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