Because we will never have an opportunity to run a picture of Vladimir Putin on the “It Is What It Is Blog” ever again. (AP)
Because there’s no shortage of odd stories during the most fallow period on the NFL calendar, we introduce the latest chapter in the story of the Patriots’ (allegedly) purloined Super Bowl ring.
To recap: New England owner Robert Kraft told a story late last week — one that has been recounted on several occasions — about Russian President Vladimir Putin accidentally/on purpose pocketing Kraft’s ring from Super Bowl XXXIX on a trip to Russia.
“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 a gathering at Carnegie Hall’s Medal of Excellence gala where Kraft was receiving an award. “I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out.”
According to CNN, Putin is denying Kraft’s claim, saying the ring was a gift.
“What Mr. Kraft is saying now is weird,” Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, said in a statement. “I was standing 20 centimeters away from him and Mr. Putin and saw and heard how Mr. Kraft gave this ring as a gift.”
On Sunday, Peskov elaborated on the statement.
“Back in 2005 I stood behind the president’s back and I saw how that ring was presented to him. All that talk about some kind of pressure that was exerted on him (Kraft) should be the subject of a detailed talk with psychoanalysts, I think,” Peskov told The Associated Press.
“At the same time, I am aware that this gentleman (Kraft) is feeling such a horrible pain about the 2005 loss,” Peskov said. “The president will be ready to send him another ring as a gift, which he (Putin) can buy with his own money.”
On top of that, Patriots spokesman Stacey James issued a statement to the Associated Press, saying the whole thing shouldn’t be taken so seriously.
“It’s a humorous, anecdotal story that Robert retells for laughs,” James said. “He loves that his 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. In particular, he credits President Putin for modernizing the Russian economy.”
Whatever. If Putin really wants a Patriots’ Super Bowl ring, maybe he can fly to Vegas and ask for Rick.