"A spokesman for Vladimir Putin maintains that the Russian President received Robert Kraft's Super Bowl ring in 2005 as a gift and said the New England Patriots' owner's claims that Putin took it without permission is "weird."
Kraft, who was honored at Carnegie Hall's Medal of Excellence gala at the Waldorf-Astoria on Thursday, told the crowd at the event that Putin took his Super Bowl XXXIX ring when the Patriots' owner visited St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2005, even though he released a statement at the time saying he gave the ring to Putin as a gift.
"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, 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."
A spokesman for Putin, however, told CNN on Sunday that the ring was definitely given as a gift.
"What Mr. Kraft is saying now is weird," Dmitry Peskov told 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.""
One of the most interesting things about this story is that I can see either version being true. On the one hand, you have a wealthy sports team owner who, requiring dinner party anecdotes on a very regular basis, might stretch the facts on occasion for a laugh. On the other hand, you have Vladimir Putin.
Either way, it is nice to see this story generating more laughs than anything else; it wasn't so long ago that a story like this would have had people glancing nervously at doomsday clocks. Relations might be frosty between the U.S. and Russia at times (with the current Snowden deportation saga and Syria serving as prime examples) but given the preceding forty years, the past twenty haven't been so bad...