The strangest story of the weekend had nothing to do with Gowanus canal hazard suits, indentured servitude or patriotic beer: it was New England Patriots' owner Robert Kraft accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of stealing his Super Bowl ring. Was it an expensive international faux pas? Was it a gift Kraft is now trying to take back? Does this mean that Putin's secretly a Jets fan?
At Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala at the Waldorf-Astoria on Thursday, Kraft gave his side of the story: "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. "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, Kraft said in a statement that he gave him the ring "as a symbol of the respect and admiration that I have for the Russian people and [his] leadership." But now Kraft claims he was pressured into taking that stance by the US government, who didn't want to stir the pot: "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.’”
"What Mr. Kraft is saying now is weird," Putin's presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded today. "I was standing 20 centimeters away from him and Mr. Putin and saw and heard how Mr. Kraft gave this ring as a gift." Either way, the ring remains in the Kremlin library. But Putin should be wary: roller-skating pirates don't appreciate people stealing their booty.