If Russian President Vladimir Putin had a sense of humor, he would inform Patriots owner Robert Kraft that the 2005 Super Bowl ring is with Edward Snowden right now, and will return to the U.S. when Snowden does.
Of course, relations between the U.S. and Russia are no laughing matter, these days, with the two superpowers butting heads over how the war in Syria should end. It’s a sharp conflict, and it’s only getting worse.
As if that disagreement weren’t enough to escalate friction between the two countries, Putin said Tuesday that Snowden hasn’t broken any Russian laws, so he’s free fly wherever he wishes from a Moscow airport. Snowden is the National Security Agency contractor who leaked American surveillance documents and, as of Tuesday, was still in Moscow. Putin doesn’t seem inclined to send Snowden back to the U.S. to face serious espionage charges.
No, the standoff between the U.S. and Russia is no laughing matter. What is a laughing matter right now, however, is the standoff between Putin and Kraft over his stupid 2005 Super Bowl Ring. Details of this international scandal comes to us from a recently published New York Post story that describes how the ring changed hands, and why Kraft didn’t try to get it back at that time.
Here’s how it all went down, according to The Post: Kraft, freshly off a Super Bowl win against the Philadelphia Eagles, was in St. Petersburg with some other high-level business executives to meet with President Putin. In a macho moment, hoping to impress the Russian president, Kraft brought out the ring and showed it to Putin. Putin, in return, showed his macho character and kept the ring.
“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, according to The Post. “I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”
At the time, to keep international relations between the U.S. and Russia rosy, Kraft released a statement saying he gave Putin his ring out of respect.
“President Putin, a great and knowledgeable sports fan, was clearly taken with its uniqueness,” Kraft said. “I decided to give him the ring as a symbol of the respect and admiration that I have for the Russian people and [his] leadership.”
What The Post found out earlier this month, though, is that Kraft really wanted the ring back, but that he received a request from then President George W. Bush’s staff saying that it would be a gesture of goodwill that the ring, as a gift, would improve the two country’s relations.
But Kraft told Bush’s staff member on the phone, “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.’”
Supposedly that ring has been sitting in the Kremlin library since then. With The Post making Kraft’s claim that he really wanted the ring back public, Putin fired back last week, saying he’s ready to give Kraft custom jewelry to compensate for the Super Bowl Ring. Putin, at an economic forum last week, called it a “complicated international problem,” and said he didn’t remember hanging out with a guy named Bob Kraft. “If it is so valuable to him,” Putin said of the ring, would order a piece of jewelry for Kraft.
As if all of this weren’t petty enough, despite the fact that I believe Kraft has been somewhat joking about all of it, even more statements were made by the Russians.
“Back in 2005, I stood behind the president’s back and I saw how that ring was presented to him,” said Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov. “All that talk about some kind of pressure that was exerted on him,” he said of Kraft, he “should be the subject of a detailed talk with psychoanalysts, I think.”
Honestly, this story is as good as it gets. Putin has the balls to take Kraft’s ring. Kraft doesn’t have the balls to do anything about it at the time. And who can blame him? If a Russian president and three KGB thugs take your ring, in the heart of St. Petersburg, you aren’t getting your ring back.
A lot of people are saying Kraft has been humorous in his retelling of the lost ring story. I believe that to be true, and I also believe Kraft is starting to miss that ring more and more as the years go by. You see, ol’ Bob Kraft isn’t getting any older, and the New England Patriots aren’t getting any better. That 2005 Super Bowl ring that’s probably sitting on Putin’s bedstand comes from the last Super Bowl Kraft is likely to win. If you are the owner of a multi-Super Bowl winning team, you would like to have dibs to your first and last ring, right? And now, that son of a bitch Putin has it and won’t give it back.
Kraft is desperate to win another Super Bowl ring. We know this from the recent acquisition of Tim Tebow. It’s either win another with Tebow, or get the 2005 ring back from Putin. Right now, it looks like Tebow is his best option.
While this “complicated international problem” has highlighted Kraft’s desperate need for another Super Bowl championship, it also tells us a lot about Vladimir Putin – mainly that he has bad taste in NFL football teams. You would think he would like to display Super Bowl rings from winners like the Green Bay Packers, the New York Giants or the Denver Broncos at the Kremlin library. Certainly not the New England Patriots. Does he even know that Tom Brady is their quarterback? I think we truly know who Vladimir Putin is now, and he’s obviously not to be trusted.