Athletes visiting Russia may want to keep a tight hold on their trophies, according to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
Kraft told the crowd at the Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala the story of how he lost his 2005 Super Bowl championship ring to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a visit to Russia with other business leaders.
“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 New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Thursday night, according to the New York 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 of the incident, Kraft released a statement that the diamond-encrusted ring was given as a gift to Putin and was given out of “respect and admiration.”
However, it turns out Kraft only released that statement after getting in touch with White House officials in an attempt to have the ring returned.
Kraft said he was told in a phone call that, “‘It would really be in the best interest if you meant to give the ring as a present.’ ”
The ring is now reportedly kept in the Kremlin library. Kraft still has two other rings from two earlier Super Bowl championships.